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Author of" Meirioal T^ntlations and Other Poemt." 








THE reign of Loiiis XTV. in France, like the age of 
Pericles at ancient Athens, was remarkable for literary 
excellence no less than for military achievements. In 
dramatic poetry the names of Comeille, Moli^re, and Badne 
are not unworthy of comparison with those of Sophocles, 
Aristophanes, and Euripides. Like Etiripides, Bacine con- 
fined himself almost exclusively to tragedy ; but as the former 
has left one Satyric drama, — " the Cyclops," — as evidence 
of his capacity for sustained humour, so the latter has given 
us ** Les Plaideurs," as his sole contribution to the Comic 
Muse. In their distinguishing characteristics as authors, 
the two poets have points of resemblance. In both alike 
tenderness and sweetness are more conspicuous than sub- 
limity and force. In each writer there is a curiosafelicUas 
of language that confers the stamp of originality upon the 
style rather than on the thoughts, which would often appear 
tame and commonplace if expressed in less fittingly chosen 
terms. This feature renders the task of a translator an 
especially difficult one, and demands the constant indul- 
gence of a reader who has learned to appreciate those graces 
of diction which no foreign language can precisely imitate. 
In Bacine, as in Euripides, the play of contending emotions 
is more prominently presented tiian sensational incidents of 
horror and bloodshed ; and another common trait is the 
analytical and argumentative vein which occupies so large 
a space as often to tax the patience of the reader, and still 


more of the spectator who requires the constant stimulus 
of brisk and sparkling dialogue. 

Racine's strict adherence to the unities of action, time, 
and place, as prescribed by Aristotle and enforced by the 
critical authority of Boileau,^ is felt by an Englishman, 
accustomed to the unlicensed freedom of our own Eliza- 
bethan dramatists, as a needless restriction, which tends to 
render the action monotonous. But this, if it is to be re- 
garded as a defect, is one from which the French stage has 
been slow to emancipate itseK ; and the genius of Racine 
was of such a kind as to conform itself to such shackles 
con amore, far more so than that of ComeiUe or Voltaire. 
The simplicity of plot in most of Racine's plays enables 
him to exert his peculiar excellence, the skill with which he 
can by constantly shifting the point of view introduce a 
succession of novel effects with few materials. Not but 
that this simplicity is in some cases carried too far for a 
drama intended for representation on the stage ; as, for 
instance, in " B^r^nice," where the changes are rung with 
wearisome iteration on the varying tones of disappointed 
love ; whereas the tangled web of passion in such a play as 
"Andromaque" gives much greater scope for sustaining 
the attention with growing interest to the end. 

Bom on or about December 21st, 1639, at the little town 
of La Ferte Milon, about equidistant from Meaux and 
Reims, Jean Racine was the son of a minor government 
official, who was charged with the collection of the salt tax, 
a position which gave him some degree of importance in 
the poet's native place. His family were well connected^ 
and the ancestral arms were a rebus of a rat and a swan 
(rat-cygne). He was his father's only son, and bore his 

' As understood by the classical school of French dramatists, these 
rules prescribe observance of the following conditions: 1. Unity of 
action, or the predominance of one main plot. 2. Unity of time, which 
limits the action to the course of a single day. 3. Unity of place. 


name. He had but one sister, Marie, about a year younger 
than himself. The two children were left orphans when 
Jean was only four years of age, and though they had a 
step-mother, she does not appear to have taken any inte- 
rest in their subsequent fortunes. The brother and sister 
were adopted by their parents' families, Jean finding a 
home with his paternal grandfather, while their mother's 
father took care of little Marie. His grandfather died 
when Jean was only ten; but his grandmother, Marie des 
Moulins, continued to treat him as a son, and a tender 
attachment existed between them, as is shown by his cor- 
respondence with his sister, until her death in 1663, when 
he had already appeared before the world as a poet and 

He received his earliest education at the college, or 
grammar school, of Beauvais, leaving it at the age of six- 
teen for one of the three rural branches of the famous 
abbey of Port Boyal, where he remained from 1655 till 
1658. The Port Boyalists are closely associated with the 
poet's subsequent career, and the religious influences which 
were then brought to bear upon his youthful mind were 
destined to assert themselves in later life in a way that, 
combined with disappointment and chagrin, changed him 
from a man of pleasure and fashion into a conscientious 
devotee ; and the author of " Esther " and " Athalie " un- 
doubtedly owed much to the pious "Solitaires" under whose 
charge he passed the most impressionable years of life. 
But at the time the ardent and imaginative youth chafed 
against the austere spirit that prevailed at the ''Petites 
Ecoles " of Port Boyal ; and the somewhat narrow-minded 
strictness of their regulations long rankled in his bosom, 
and eventually found expression in a savage tirade against 
his old instructors, of which further mention will have to 
be made. A single incident will be sufficient to show both 
the zealous discipline to which he was subjected, and the 


determined spirit with wliich lie resented opposition to his 
favourite tastes. A Greek romance, written in the fourth 
century of the Christian era, by a future Bishop of the 
Church, the " ^thiopica " of Heliodorus, having fallen into 
ids hands, he was perusing it with the utmost avidity, 
when one of his masters, Claude Lancelot, snatched the 
volume from his hands, and threw it into the fire. The 
blameless adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea scarcely 
deserved such violent treatment, but the worthy man no 
doubt aqted up to his light, and the mere name of a love 
story was probably quite enough to make him deem it 
pernicious. Young Eacine's curiosity, however, was not to 
be so easily balked, and he managed to procure another 
copy. This too was confiscated by the zealous magister 
morum, and followed the fate of its predecessor. But the 
lad was more than a match for his tutor, and, recovering 
the forbidden treasure a third time, made himself master 
of its contents, and is even said to have learned them by 
heart. Then with triumphant impertinence he presented 
the book to Lancelot, saying : " You may bum this, as you 
have done the others." The tale was one that lingered 
affectionately in his remembrance, and he was at one time 
intending to make it the subject of a play, as was actually 
done by Dorat about a hundred years afterwards. There 
are other stories told of him at this time which show that 
his memory was as retentive as his imagination was alert. 
Greek poetry was more to his taste than theological dis- 
quisitions, and he gave his good preceptors much anxiety 
and distress by the zest with which he devoured the Athe- 
nian dramatists, as contrasted with his disinclination for 
pious instruction. Sophocles and Euripides were his 
favourite authors. He could repeat large portions of their 
plays, and they were his chosen companions when he wan- 
dered through the woods, or buried himself in their deepest 
solitudes. He made copious notes in the margins of his 


pocket Tolumes, and essayed poetical compositions of liis 
own on similar themes, a friyolous and dangerous amuse- 
ment which, when discovered, drew down upon him the 
censure of the authorities, and, as a pimishment, it was 
thought advisable to tiun his gift to religious uses hj set- 
ting him the task of translating the Latin hymns of his 
Breviary into French verse, an occupation to which he re- 
turned in the closing years of his life. 

He left the Port Boyalists before he was nineteen, and 
proceeded to Paris, in order to study philosophy and logic 
at the College d'Harcourt. But he appears to have de- 
voted himself with more ardour to sociabihty and pleasure, 
with gay companions like the Abb^ Le Yasseur and La 
Fontaine, to whom in his letters, and no doubt in his con- 
versation at this period, he loved to mimic the pious 
phraseology of his former instructors. He was boarded 
with his cousin, Nicolas Vitard, who was steward to the 
Due de Luynes; and Bacine himself, at a later time, 
formed one of that nobleman's household. In an amusing 
letter written to Le Vasseur from Chevreuse, near Ver- 
sailles, he deplores his absence from Paris as an exile in 
Babylon, and describes his uncongenial duties in super- 
intending the alterations at the Duke's ch&teau, which he 
varied by frequent visits to the neighbouring tavern, and 
by reading and writing poetry, with a aou^on of romantic 
adventure in connection with a lady who, as he enigmati- 
cally remarks, " mistook me yesterday for a bailiff." In 
1660 he made an unsuccessful attempt to get a play of his 
put upon the stage, which bore the title of ** Amasie," and 
another was at least taken in hand, if not completed. 
These efforts led him into the society of actors and actresses, 
and his friends of Port Eoyal grew more and more uneasy 
as to his manner of life. An ode that he wrote about this 
time in honour of the king's marriage with the Infanta Maria 
Theresa brought him the substantial reward of a hundred 


louie d!oT, He entitled this effusion " La Nymphe de la 
Seine." He had now given up all thoughts of his original 
destination, the legal profession, but was induced, in 1661, to 
prepare himself for holy orders at XJzes in Languedoc, with 
his maternal uncle, Pere Sconin, who was willing to resign 
to him, when qualified, the benefice that he himself held, 
if there should be none other available. Eacine remained 
at XJzes for a year and more, studying theology, but with 
his heart still devoted to the Muses, as is shown by his 
critical remarks upon Pindar and Homer, which he wrote 
while there. The clerical life was not one to which Eacine's 
temperament, at least at this time, was at all adapted, and 
it was probably his sense of this incompatibility, as much 
as the difficulties which presented themselves in obtaiaing 
a satisfactory living, that determined his abandonment of 
a scheme which he had been led to adopt under strong 
pressure from without. He was, indeed, instituted prior 
of Epinay, but this was an office which could be held by a 
layman; and when it involved him in a lawsuit which 
threatened to be interminable, he did not care to retain it 
long after finding his true vocation as a dramatic author. 

In 1663 Eacine was once more in Paris, and made the 
acquaintance of Moliere and Boileau. His friendship with 
the latter remained unbroken through life ; but the former's 
kindness was repaid with a discourteous iagratitude which 
was unpardonable, and is, unfortunately, not the only in- 
stance of this blemish in his character. It was under 
Moliere's friendly auspices that Eacine's first published 
play, " La Th^baide," was put upon the stage. This was 
at the Palais Eoyal, Moliere's own theatre, and it had a 
run of a dozen nights, and was revived the next season. 
It was in the same year (1664) that Louis XIV.'s recovery 
from the measles inspired our courtly poet to celebrate 
this important event in such flattering verses that he was 
rewarded with a pension of six hundred francs, and he was 


indebted to the munificence of the Court for many " re- 
freshers " on other occasions. 

His next play was "Alexandre le Grand," which was 
also brought out by Moliere, in December, 1665 ; and it 
was in connection with this arrangement that the rupture 
between the two had its origin. The sensitive poet seems 
to have been disgusted by the manner in which it was 
being acted ; for, a fortnight after it had been put on the 
boards at the Palais Boyal, Moli^re's company learned 
with astonishment and indignation that it was being simul- 
taneously performed at a rival theatre, that of the Hotel 
de Bourgogne. The actors at the Palais Boyal punished 
the poet's underhand conduct by mulcting him of his 
share of the profits, and dividing them all among them- 
selves. Another quarrel occurred about this time which 
reflects still less credit upon Bacine's sense of generosity 
and gratitude. His friends of Port Boyal, amongst whom 
were some of his own kinsfolk, regarded his career as a 
writer of plays, and his intimacy with actors and actresses, 
with alarm and aversion. His aunt, Agnes Bacine, who 
was one of them, wrote him an affectionate letter of sor- 
rowful remonstrance, the only immediate effect of which 
was a bitter resentment which soon afterwards found ex- 
pression in a wholesale invective directed against the prin- 
ciples and practice of the Port Boyalists. His wrath was 
aggravated by a pamphlet war between his old master, 
Pierre Nicole, and a certain Desmarets, who had attacked 
all Jansenists as heretics.^ Nicole, in his reply, taunted 
Desmarets with having formerly written novels and plays, 

^ Cornelius Jansen was a Dutch divine, whose tenets on Grace and 
Predestination, as set forth in his great work " Augustinus," were con- 
demned by three successive Popes. The Jansenist doctrines were sup- 
ported by the Port Royalists and opposed by the Jesuits in France, the 
principal champions of the former party being Pascal, Arnauld, and 


and took occasion to inyeigh against all such people as 
public poisoners. Eacine chose to consider himself per- 
sonally insulted by these strictures, and wrote a couple of 
violent letters, in which he did all he could to expose the 
Port Eoyalists to ridicule and contempt. The publication 
of the first of these letters widened the breach that already 
existed between them and their headstrong protege ; but 
he was induced by the judicious advice of Boileau to forego 
his intention of sending the second letter also to the press, 
nor did it see the light of publicity till after the poet's 
death. He even endeavoured to arrest the sale of the first 
letter, and long afterwards, at a meeting of the Academy, 
referred to this incident as the most disgraceful spot in 
his life, and one that he would give his heart's blood to 

In 1667 one of his best tragedies, and by many it is 
reckoned his masterpiece, was acted at the Hotel de Bour- 
gogne. This was " Andromaque," and the part of the 
heroine was taken by Mademoiselle du Pare, whom Bacine 
persuaded to leave the Palais Boyal for the purpose. Its 
success was immediate, and his reputation established as a 
formidable rival to Comeille. Nor has the verdict of pos- 
terity Mled to confirm the judgment of his contemporaries. 
With the exception of " PhMre," no other of his tragedies 
has been more often represented at Parisian theatres, and 
the late G-. H. Lewes, among English critics, has pro- 
uoi^ced the character of Hermione to be the finest creation 
of Eacine's genius. 

" Andromaque " was followed in 1668 by his first and 
last comedy, " Les Plaideurs ; " and the popularity of this 
clever travesty of law and lawyers has, like Cowper's 
** John Gilpin," made the author's name familiar to many 
who have little or no acquaintance with his more serious 
work. He had himself had some experience of a court of 
justice. It has been already mentioned that he held for a 


time the title of Prior of Epinay ; but liis right was dis- 
puted, and the lawsuit that followed broiight the whole 
matter into such a state of mystification and confusion 
that the prospect of any definite decision seemed as remote 
as the Greek Kalends. No« such witty satire had been 
directed against the gentlemen of the long robe since the 
days of Eabelais, though somehow it &iled to make a hit 
at first, but when " le grand monarque " deigned to laugh 
at it, Paris began to see the joke, and laughed too. 

I^acine was now steadily producing a new drama almost 
every year ; and between 1664 and 1677 ten of his plays 
were acted on the Paris boards. He only wrote two more, 
after a long interval, and those for a special purpose, and 
in quite another vein. In 1673 he received the blue ribbon 
of literary ambition, the honour of admission among the 
famous forty of the Academic Fran9aise, which had been 
founded by Eicheheu in 1635. Four years later he was 
appointed to share with his friend Boileau the distinction 
of historiographer to the king, to which oflGice there was 
attached the annual salary of 2,000 crowns. He was thus 
relieved from the necessity of supporting himself by writing 
for the stage, and this had probably as much to do with 
his long silence, which lasted from 1677 to 1689, as the 
annoyance and disappointment which he felt at the com- 
parative failure of his latest and perhaps best classical 
tragedy, " Phedre." A plot had been set on foot by the 
Duchesse de Bouillon and others to damn the play by 
buying up all the best seats at the theatre of the Hotel 
Bourgogne, where " Phedre " was to appear, and by start- 
ing a rival drama at another house, composed by a book- 
seller's hack of the name of Pradon on the very same 
theme. For the first few nights Badne's play was acted 
to empty boxes, and though the triumph of his enemies 
was short lived, the poet's feehngs were so deeply wounded 
that he renounced all further efforts to court the favour of 


the fickle public. He had even serious thoughts of for- 
saking the world altogether, and becoming a monk, but 
-was persuaded to adopt what for him at least was no 
doubt a wiser course, and at the age of thirty-eight (1677) 
he married Catherine de Bomanet, a simple minded but 
excellent woman, who had a Httle fortune of her own. As 
a husband and a father (he had a family of two sons and 
five daughters), he gave himself up to a blameless and 
domestic life, and a complete reconciliation with the Soli- 
taires of Port Royal was cemented by a frank apology for 
the sarcasms which he had levelled against them ten years 
before. Boileau acted as peacemaker on this occasion, as 
he had endeavoured to do when the rupture took place, 
and it is amusing to learn how the austere Antoine Amauld 
and Pierre Nicole were persuaded to read their old pupil's 
version of the time-honoured story of Phaedra and Hippo- 
lytus, and that the former relented so far as to praise the 
moral lesson which it taught, though he could not forgive 
him for trying to improve upon Euripides, and complained, 
"Why did he make Hippolytus in love P " 

As the king's historiographers, Boileau and Bacine ac- 
companied his victorious troops on several campaigns, but 
neither of them did more than accumulate materials which 
were never reduced to any coherent and permanent shape. 
Like the younger poet, Boileau discontinued all other 
literary work for many years after his appointment to this 
office. The regularity of Eacine's married life was all that 
his friends of Port Royal could desire. He mapped out 
his hours with methodical precision, giving one third of 
his day to devotional exercises, another to his professional 
avocations, and the remainder to his family and friends. 

Madame de Maintenon, whom Louis XIY. had privately 
married in 1684, took a warm interest in a convent for the 
education of young ladies, which she had established at 
St. Cyr. Here it was the custom for the girls to recite 


plays at certain times, chiefly those of ComeiUe and Kacine ; 
and this they had done on one occasion with such evident 
relish for the tenderer passages, when " Andromache ** had 
been selected for performance, that it was deemed unsuit- 
able for repetition, and Eacine was requested by Madame 
de Maintenon to write something expressly for her young 
charges of a more edifying tendency. Boileau advised him 
to decline the commission as one beneath his powers, but 
he was unwilling to offend Madame de Maintenon, and 
determined to do his best. The fruit of this resolution 
was the sacred drama of "Esther," which was privately 
performed at the Maison de St. Cyr in 1689, and met with 
much applause. Encouraged by this success, he essayed 
a higher flight in " Athalie," which was acted by the same 
young performers in 1691, and is justly regarded as the 
flnest specimen of its kind. Neither of these sacred dramas 
was acted on a public stage till long after Bacine's death, 
which occurred on the 12th of April, 1699. A short his- 
tory of Port Royal was his last work, and formed a fitting 
<X)nclusion to his chequered relations with that celebrated 
community ; for therein he did full justice to the merits to 
which he had been blinded by passion in the hotter days 
of his theatrical career, and nobly repaid the debt of grati- 
tude that he owed to those whose pious instructions had 
so long laiQ dormant but not dead, as testified by his sub- 
sequent conversion and the exalted religious sentiments of 
his later writii^s. 



Thb Thebaid 1 

Albxavder thb Great 63 

Androiiachb 121 

Thb Litioahts * . 185 

BRiTJUoncus . . • • 253 

Bbrbnicb 325 











THIS play, which was first acted in 1664, when Racine was 
in his twenty-fifth year, is a tragedy founded upon the 
" Seven against Thebes " of -ffischylus and the ** Phoenician 
Women " of Euripides. The part of HsBmon is borrowed 
from the ** Antigone " of Sophocles, and free use has been 
made of Rotrou's tragedy of the same name. The author, 
in the preface to this drama in his collected works, begs 
the reader's indulgence for its imperfections, in considera- 
tion of the early age at which he wrote it. He apologizes 
for the wholesale slaughter of nearly all the characters at 
its close on the ground that he has therein only followed 
tradition. Love occupies but a subsidiary place in the 
development of the plot, the main theme being the hatred 
between the sons of (Edipus, as inheritors of the curse 
pronounced against the latter for the parricide and incest 
of which he was unwittingly guilty. 

The influence of ComeUle is strongly marked in this the 
earliest of Racine's published plays ; and neither in matter 
nor style is there more than a faint promise of original 


Eteocles, King qf Thebes, 

FoLTNiCES, brother o/Eteoclea, 

JocASTA, mother of those two princes, and of Antigone. 

Antigone, sister ofEteocles and P<dynices, 

Crbon, their uncle, 

HjSMON, son of Creon, lover of Antigone, 

Oljmfia, confidential friend ofJocasta, 

Attalus, confidential friend qf Creon. 

A Soldier of the army of Polj/nioes, 


The sceDe is laid at Thebes, in a room of the paklaoe. 





Scene 1. 


Olympia, are they gone ? What grief is mine, 
To pay with weeping for one moment's rest ! 
For six long months mine eyes have open'd thus 
Only to tears, nor ever closed in peace : 
Ah, would that death might seal them up for aye. 
Ere they behold this darkest deed of all ! 
Have they encountered? 


From th' high city wall 
I saw their hosts for battle all array'd, 
Their bright arms flashing in the sun ; then left 
The ramparts straight to bring you word ; for there 
I saw the king himself march, sword in hand. 
Before his troops^ teaching the stoutest hearts 
Surpassing eagerness to dare the worst. 


No doubt remains, Olympia, they are bent 
On mutual slaughter. Let the Princess know. 


And bid lier hasten hither. Bighteous Heav'n, 
Support my weakness. We must after them. 
Part these unnatural brothers, or else die 
Slain bj their hands. The fatal day is come. 
Bare dread of which has fill'd me with despair ? 
Of no avail have been my prayers and tears ; 
The Fates not yet their wrath have satisfied. 

O Sun, that givest Ught to all the world, 
Why hast thou left us not in deepest night ? 
Shall thy fair beams on deeds of darkness shine. 
Nor horror turn thine eyes from what we see ? 
Alas, such portents can appal no more. 
The race of La'ius has msAe them trite ; 
Thou canst unmoved behold my guilty sons, 
For crimes more heinous yet their parents wrought ; 
Thou dost not shudder if my sons forswear 
Their solemn oaths, unnatural murderers both. 
Snowing them from incestuous union born, 
Bather would'st wonder were they virtuous. 

Scene 2, 
JocASTA, Antigone, Oltmpia. 


My daughter, have you heard our misery ? 


Yes, they have told me of my brothers* rage. 


Let us then hasten, dear Antigone, 

To stop, if it may be, their fratricide. 

Come, let us show them what they hold most dear. 

And see if they will yield to our attack, 

Or if in blinded frenzy they will dare 

To shed our blood, ere each the other slays. 


Mother, 'tis over ! Eteocles is here ! 


Scene 3. 
JocASTA, Eteoclxs, Antioonb, Oltmpia. 


Your arm, Oljmpia ! Anguish makes me weak. 


Mother, what trouble ails you ? 


Ah ! mv son ! 
Do not I see your raiment stain'd with blood ? 
Is it your brother's blood ? Is it your own ? 


Ko, Madam, it is neither. In his camp 
My brother Polynices loiters yet. 
And will not meet my challenge face to face, 
But only sent an Argive force, that dared 
Dispute our sally from these walls ; rash fools ! 
I made them bite the dust ; their blood it is, 
Which you may see. 


But what did you intend P 
What sudden impulse led you, all at once, 
To pour your troops upon the plain ? 


'Twas time 
I acted as I did, for, lingering here, 
My fame grew tamish'd, and hard words arose 
From all the people, blaming me for sloth. 
When loom'd already Famine's dreadful form ; 
I heard r^rets that they had crown'd me king. 
Complaints that I had fiiil'd to justify 
Their choice to that high rank. So, come what may, 
I must content them ; Thebes from this day forth 

8 bacine's works. [act I. 

Shall captive be no more ; no troops of mine 
Being left to overawe, let her decide. 
Alone, the issue. I have men enough 
To keep the field ; if Fortune aid our arms, 
Bold Foljnices and his proud allies 
Shall leave her free, or perish at my feet. 


Heav'ns ! Could you let such blood your arms defile ? 
Has then the erown for you such fatal charm ? 
If only to be gain'd by fratricide, 
Would my son wear it at a price so dear ? 
Does honour ui^e ? With you alone it rests 
To give us peace without recourse to crime. 
And, vanquishing your savage wrath this day, 
Your brother satisfy and reign with him. 


To share my crown ! And call you that to reign ? 
To tamely yield what my own right has giv'n ! 


You know, my son, how birth and justice grant 
This dignity to him as well as you ; 
How (Edipus, ere ending his sad course, 
Ordain'd that each of you his year should reign. 
And, having but one kingdom to bequeath, 
Will'd you should both be rulers in your turn. 
To these conditions you subscribed. The lot 
Summoned you first to poVr supreme, and so 
The throne you mounted, unopposed by him. 
Unwilling now to let him take your place. 


No, Madam ; to the sceptre he has lost 
All claim, since Thebes refused to ratify 
Our compact, and, in making me her kmg, 
*Tis she, not I, who barr'd him from the throne : 
Has Thebes less reason now to dread his pow*r, 


After six months of outrage at his hands? 

How could she e'er obey that savage Prince 

Who arms against her Famine and the Sword ? 

How could she take for king Mycense's slave, 

Who for all Thebans hatred only feels ? 

Who, to the king of Argos basely bound, 

links him in marriage to our bitterest foes ? 

For Argos chose him for his son-in-law, 

In hopes that by his means he might behold 

Thebes laid in ashes. Love had little part 

In such foul union ; fury lit the torch 

Of Hymen. Thebes, t'escape his chains, crown'd me, 

Expects thro' me to see her troubles end. 

Must needs accuse me if I play her false, — 

I am her captive, I am not her king ! 


Say, rather say, ungrateful heart and fierce. 
Nought else can move you like the diadem. 
Yet I am wrong ; it is not royal rank. 
But guilt alone, that has a charm for you. 
Well, since your soul so hungers after that. 
Why stop at fratricide ? Slay me as well. 
Seems it small sin to shed a brother's blood ? 
I offer you my own. Will that suffice ? 
Thus then wiU you have vanquished all your foes, 
Bemoved all checks, committed every crime, 
No hateful rival to the throne be left, 
And you be greatest of aU criminals ! 


What will content you, Madam ? Must I leave 
The throne, and crown my brother king instead ? 
Must I, to further your unjust design, 
Own him as lord who is my subject now. 
And, to advance you to your height of bliss. 
Yield myself up a prey to his revenge ? 
Must I submit to die ? — 

10 BAcnrB's WOBK8. [act I. 


Wliat words are these ? 
Good Heay'ns ! How ill jou read my secret heart I 
I do not ask you to resign yonr sway ; 
Eeign still, my son, for such is my desire ; 
But if my many woes can pity stir. 
If in your breast you keep some love for me, 
Or if your own unblemished fame be dear, 
Then let your brother share that high estate ; 
Only an empty splendour will be his ; 
Your pow'r enhanced thereby will sweeter prove ; 
Your subjects all will praise the generous deed, 
And ever wish to keep a prince so rare ; 
This noble act will not impair your rights. 
But render you the greatest of all kings. 
As the most just. Or, if you will not bend 
To meet a mother's wish, if, at such price, 
Peace seems impossible, and pow'r alone 
Has charms for you ; at least, to give me ease, 
Suspend your arms. Grant to your mother's tears 
This favour, while I seek your brother's camp : 
Pity perchance may in his soul reside ; 
Or I at least may bid my last farewell. 
This moment let me go, e'en to his tent. 
And unattended ; this shall be my hope ; 
My heart-felt sighs may move him to relent. 


Mother, you need not go ; here may you see 
Your son again, if in ti^at interview 
You find such charms. It rests with him alone 
To effect a truce. This very hour your wish 
May be fulfiU'd, this palace welcome him. 
I will go further, and, that you may know 
He wrongs me in imputing treachery. 
And that I play no hateful tyrant's part. 
Let sentence be pronounced by gods and men. 
If so the people will, to him I yield 


My place ; but let him bow to their decree, 

If it be exile ; yea, I pledge my word. 

Free and imfetter'd Thebes shall choose her king. 

JocASTA, Eteoclbs, Antioonb, Obeon, Oltmpia. 


The sally has alarm'd yonr subjects, sire ; 
Thebes at your fancied loss abeady weeps. 
While horror and affright reign everywhere. 
And people tremble gazing from the walls. 


Soon shall their yain alarm be quieted. 
Madam, I go to join my gallant troops ; 
Meanwhile you may accomplish your desires. 
Bring Polynices in, and talk of peace. 
Creon, the queen commands here in my room. 
Prepare the people to obey her will ; 
Your son, Menseceus shall be left behind 
To take and giye her orders ; him I choose, 
For, high repute with all to valour join'd. 
His merits will the timid reassure. 
And give no handle to the enemy. 
Command his service. Madam. 

{To Ceeon.) 

Follow me. 


What, sire I — 


Yes, Creon, I am so resolv'd. 


And do you thus resign your sovereign pow'r l 



Whether I do or not, ne'er vex yourself ; 
Fulfil my bidding, and come after me. 

Scene 5. 
JocASTA, Antigone, Cbbon, Olympia. 


What have you done? Madam, what course is this, 
To make the conqueror seek ignoble flight ? 
Your counsel ruins all. 


Nay, all preserves ; 
For thus, and thus alone, can Thebes be saved. 


What, Madam ! when, (our state being strong as now. 
Contingents of six thousand men and more 
Swelling our ranks and promising success,) 
The king lets victory from his hands be snatch'd ! 


There may be conquest, yet no glory won ; 
Shame and remorse oft follow victory. 
When brothers twain for mutual slaughter arm. 
To part them not may be to lose them both: 
,0r if one conquer, to have sufPer'd him 
So to prevail were his worst injury. 


Too high their wrath has ris'n — 


It may be calm'd. 


Both wish to reign. 



And so in truth thej shalL 


Kings' majesty admits no partnership ; 
'Tis no commodity to be resign'd, 
And then resumed. 


They shall accept as law 
The interest of the State. 


Which is to have • 
^ single king, who, governing his reahns 
With constant sway, accustoms t^ his laws 
People and Princes. But alternate rule 
Would give two tyrants, when it gave two kings. 
One brother would the other's work destroy 
By contrary decrees ; they'd ever be 
Scheming to exercise despotic pow'r. 
And public policy would change each year. 
To put a period to their sovereignty 
Means to give greater scope for violence. 
Both in their turn would make their subjects groan ; 
Like mountain torrents lasting but a day, 
Which any barrier makes more dangerous, 
'Rmn and misery must mark their course. 


Nay, rather shall we see the brothers vie 
In noble schemes to win their country's love. 
But, Creon, own that all your trouble springs 
From fear lest peace should render treason vain. 
Seat my sons firmly in the throne you seek. 
And break the snares you set to catch their steps. 
As at their death there falls by right of birth 
Into your hands the sceptre, natural ties 
Of commo^ blood between you and my sons 
Make you regard them as your greatest foes. 

14 bagike's wobes. [act I. 

And your ambition, aiming at the crown, 
Inspires a hatred which thej share alike. 
With dangerous counsels you infect the king, 
And make a friend of one to ruin both. 


I nourish no such fancies ; for the kin^ 

My high respect is ardent and sincere ; 

And my ambition is not, as you think. 

To reach the throne, but to maintain him thwe. 

My sole concern is to exalt his pow'r ; 

I hate his foes, and there lies all my crime : 

I care not to deny it. But, methinks, 

This crime of mine finds no like feeling here. 


I am his mother, Creon ; if I love 
His brother, is the king less dear for that ? 
Let cringing courtiers hate him as they may, 
A mother's tender heart beats ever true. 


Your interest herein is one with ours. 
The kmg has enemies that are not yours ; 
You are a father, and amongst his foes. 
Consider, Creon, that your son is found, 
Por Polynices has no warmer friend 
Than Hsemon. 


True, nor am I less than just ; 
He holds in my regard a special place. 
Which is, as it should be, to hate him more 
Than any other ; in just wrath I wish 
That all might hate him as his father does. 


After such valiant deeds as he has wrought, 
The general feeling has another bent. 



I see it, Madam, and I grieve thereat. 

But know my duty when a son revolts ; 

All these grand exploits that have won him praise 

Excite my just resentment. For Disgrace 

Is ever constant to the rebel's side ; 

His bravest actions brmg his greatest guilt, 

The prowess of his arm but marks his crime, 

And Glory scorns to own Disloyalty, 


Heed better Nature's voice. 


The dearer he 
Who does th' ofEence, the more the ill is felt. 


But should a father carry wrath so far ? 
You hate too much. 


You are too lenient, 
In pleading for a rebel you transgress. 


The cause of Innocence is worth a word. 


I know what makes his innocence for you. 


And I what makes him hateful in your sight. 


For Love sees not like common eyes. 


Of what my wrath can do, when you abuse 

16 bacikb's works. [act I. 

The liberty which may be stretch'd too far 
And bring down ruin on your head at last. 


The public good weighs little on his soul. 

And Patriotism masks another flame. 

I know it, Creon» but abhor a suit. 

Which 'twere your wisdom to leave unexpress'd. 


I'll do so, Madam ; and, beginning now. 

Will rid you of my presence. For I see 

To pay you my respect but points your scorn : 

My son, — more happy, — shall supply my room. 

The king has summoned me, and I obey. 

Haemon and Polynices, — send for them. 



Yes, wicked schemer, both will come» 
And with united efforts foil your plots. 

Scene 6. 


The traitor ! What a height of insolence ! ^ 


All his presumptuous words will turn to shama 
For soon, if our desires are heard in Heay'n, 
Peace wUl ambition's retribution bring. 
But every hour is precious, we must haste 
And summon Hsemon and your brother too ; 
I am prepared to grant them to this end 
Whate'er safe conduct they think fit to ask. 

And gracious Heav'n, if Justice may give pause 
To my misfortunes, then incline to peace 


The heart of Polyniees ; aid my sighs. 
Make eloquent my trouble and my tears ! 

ANTiaoNB (alone). 

If Heav'n can feel compassion for a flame 
As innocent as mine, then bring me back 
My Hsemon faithful still, and grant to-day 
That with my lover Love himself may come. 

ACT 11. 

Scene 1. 

Antigone, ELsmon. 


What ! Will you rob me of the face I love 
So soon, when I have suffered a whole year 
Of absence ? Have you call'd me to your side 
To snatch away again so sweet a prize ? 


Shall I so soon, then, cast a brother off. 
And let my mother seek the gods alone ? 
Ought I to shape my duty to your wish, 
Think but of love, and care for peace no more ? 


No duty bids thee thwart my happiness ; 
They can consult the oracle full well 
Without us. Let me rather at your eyes 
Question my heart's Divinity what fate 
Is mine. Should I be overbold to ask 
If their accustom'd sweetness welcome still 
The thought of my affection, nor resent 
My ardour ? Can they pity where they wound ? 

18 bacine's wobks. [act n. 

While cruel absence dragg'd its weary course, 

Say, have you wish'd me to be faithful still ? 

Thought you how Death was threatening, far from you, 

A lover who should die but at your knees ? 

Ah ! when such beauty penetrates the soul, 

When the heart dares to lift its hopes to you. 

How sweet to worship charms divinely fair ! 

What torture when they vanish out of sight ! 

Each moment's separation seem'd an age ; 

And I had long since closed my sad career. 

Had I not trusted, till I might return, 

That absence would to you be proof of love, 

And my obedience in your memory dwell 

To plead for me while banish'd from your face ; 

And that each thought of me would make you think. 

How great must be the love that thus obeys. 


Yes, I knew well that such a faithful soul 
Would find the pain of absence hard to bear ; 
And, if I may my secret thoughts reveal, 
The wish would sometimes come that you might feel 
Some shade of bitterness, to make the days. 
Parted from me, seem longer than before. 
' But blame me not, for mine own heart was full 
Of sorrow, and but wish'd that you might share 
Its load, grown yet more heavy since the war 
Brought your invading forces on this land. 
Ah ! with what anguish did I then behold 
My dearest on opposing sides array'd ! 
With countless pangs my heart was torn to see 
Loved ones without our walls, loved ones within : 
At each assault a thousand terrors clash'd 
In conflict, and a thousand deaths I died. 


Tis pitiful indeed ; but have I done 

Aught but as you yourself directed me ? 

In following Polynices I obey'd 

Your wish ; nay more, your absolute command. 


A friend's devoted heart I pledg'd him then, 
Quitted my country, left my father's side. 
Thereby incurring his indignant wrath, 
And, worst of all, banish'd myself from you. 


I bear it all in mind ; Haemon is right. 
In serving Polynices, me you serv'd. 
Dear was he then to me, and dear to-day. 
All that was done for him was done for me. 
We loved each other from our tenderest years, 
And o'er his heart I held unrivall'd sway ; 
To please him was my chief delight, to share 
His sorrows was the sister's privilege. 
O that such pow'r to move him still were mine ! 
Then would he love the peace for which I yearn ; 
Our common woe would so be luU'd to rest. 
And I should see him, nor would you from me 
Be parted. 


He abhors this dreadful war ; 
Yea, I have seen him sigh with grief and rage, 
That he has been compell'd to mate his way 
Thro' bloodshed to regain his father's throne. 
Hope that the gods, touch'd by our miseries, 
Will soon the rift between the brothers heal ; 
May Heav'n restore afEection to their hearts, 
And in their sister's breast keep love alight I 


That latter task indeed, ah ! doubt it not. 

Were easier far than to appease their rage. 

Well do I know them both, and am assured 

Their hearts, dear Hsemon, are more hard than mine. 

Hut sometimes Heav'n works marvels past belief. 


20 Racine's works. [act ir. 

Scene 2. 
Antigone, H^mon, Oltmpia. 


Now let us hear what said the oracle. 
What must be done ? 




What ! were you told 
That war must still be waged ? 


Ah ! worse than that ! 


What woe is this the angry Pow'rs portend ? 


Prince, hear the answer for yourself, then judge : 
" Ye Thebans, thus doth Fate ordain. 

That if ye would from war be freed. 

The last hope of the royal seed 
With blood outpour'd your land must stain.'* 


How has this offspring of a hapless race 
Deserv'd such condemnation, oh, ye gods ? 
Was not my father's death vengeance enough, 
That wrath must follow all our family ? 


Lady, this sentence is not aim'd at you. 
For virtue shelters you from punishment. 
The gods can read your innocence of heart. 



Tho* innocence affords no trusty shield, 
Yet 'tis not for myself I fear their stroke. 
The guilt of (Edipus will slay his child 
Waiting without a murmur for her death. 
But if I must my ground of dread disclose, 
It is for you, dear Hsemon, that I fear ; 
From that unhappy stock like us you spring. 
I see too plainly that the wrath of Heav'n 
This baleful honour wiU to you extend 
As unto us, and make our princes wish 
Their birth had been from lowest of the low. 


Can I regret a destiny so grand. 
Or shrink from meeting such a noble death ? 
To be descended from the blood of kings 
Is glorious, e'en if we must lose that blood 
Soon as receiv'd. 


If any sin is ours. 
Should Heav'n for that take vengeance upon you ? 
The father and the children might suffice. 
Without more distant quest for guiltless blood. 
Th' offence that we inherit 'tis for us 
To expiate. Then slay us, heav'nly Pow'rs, 
But spare the rest ! 

My sire, dear Haemon, brings 
Tour utter ruin now, and I, perchance. 
Yet more than he. Punishment falls on you. 
And on your House, because my father sinn'd, — 
And you have loved his daughter, which has wrought 
More harm than incest and than parricide. 


My love, say you ? Is that a fatal crime ? 
Can it be wrong to love celestial charms ? 
And since my passion meets such sweet response. 
How can it e'er deserve the wrath of Heav'n ? 

22 bacine's works. [act ii. 

My sighs concern you and your heart alone, 
For you it is to judge if they offend : 
As to your potent sentence they appeal, 
Shall they be blamable or innocent. 
Let Heav'n decree my ruin if it will, 
Still shall the causes of that fate be dear, 
Proud shall I be to die because I claim 
Kinship with royalty, and happier still 
To die your subject. In this common wreck. 
Why should I wish to live a life forlorn ? 
The gods would all in vain my death delay. 
Their mercy would be foil'd by my despair. 
But after all perchance our fears are vain. 
Patience ! 

Lo, Polynices and the Queen ! 

Scene 3. 
JocASTA, Polynices, Antigone, Hjemon. 


Cease to oppose me, in the name of Heav'n : 

I plainly see peace is impossible. 

I hoped the eternal justice of the gods 

Might against tyranny declare itself. 

And, weary of the sight of so much blood. 

Might grant to each of us his proper rank ; 

But, since they back injustice openly. 

And side with guilt, I can no longer hope. 

When Heav'n itself favours unrighteousness, 

That a rebellious people may be just. 

Shall then a shameless rabble judge my cause, 

Whose base self-interest, tho' remote from his. 

Inspires the zeal that serves my enemy. 

The multitude admit not Season's sway. 

Victim already of this people's scorn, 

Me they have banish'd, nor will take again 

Th' offended prince, whom they a tyrant deem. 

And as to honour's dictates they are deaf. 


They think the aim of all the world, revenge. 
Their hatred owns no curb, but, started once, 
Holds on its course for ever. 


If, indeed, 
This people have such fear of you, my Son, 
And all the Thebans dread your sovereignty. 
Why, when they steel their hearts against your plea. 
Thro' bloodshed seek the sceptre they withhold ? 


Is it the people's part to choose their lord ? 
Soon as they hate a king must he resign 
His crown ? And by their hatred or their love. 
Is his right limited to mount the throne. 
Or leave it? With affection or with fear 
Let these regard me, as they will ; what birth, 
Not their caprice, has made, they must accept. 
And pay respect if they refuse to love. 


When subjects hate their king, he then becomes 
A tyrant. 


Nay, a lawful prince can ne'er 
Ee call'd such. None deserve that odious name 
With rights like mine, nor does a people's hate 
Make tyrants. Bather name my brother so. 


He's loved by aU. 


A tyrant 'tis they love. 
Who by a hundred tricks of meanness tries 
To keep the footing he has gain'd by force ; 
Who learns from pride lessons of humbleness. 
His brother's tyrant, but his people's slave. 
To keep the sceptre to himself, he bends 

24 bacine's wobes. [act ii. 

Submissive, and, to make me bated, courts 
Contempt. Not witbout cause do tbey prefer 
A traitor, for tbe people love a slave. 
And fear to bave a master. To consult 
Tbeir wbims were treason done to royalty. 


Has discord tben for you sucb matcbless cbarms, 
Already weary of tbe armistice ? 
After sucb troubles sball we never cease. 
You, to sbed blood, and I, to weep in vain ? 
Will you grant notbing to a motber's tears ? 
Daugbter, restrain yoxir brotber, if you can ; 
Erst was your love tbe only cbeck he own'd. 


Ab ! if bis soul is deaf to pity's voice 

For your sake, can bis former love for me, 

Estranged by absence, leave me room for bope ? 

Scarce in bis memory bave I still a place : 

He knows no pleasure but in sbedding blood. 

No longer may we trust to find in bim 

Tbe gallant pHnce wbo sbuddered at tbe tbougbt 

Of crime, wbose g^Herous soul witb kindness teem'd, 

Honoured bis motber, and bis sister loved : 

Now Nature's ties for bim are idle dreams, 

Tbat sister be disowns, tbat motber scorns ; 

And bis Ingratitude, loi;g.nurs'd by Pride, 

Holds us as strangers, yea, as enemies. 


Cbarge not tbat sin on my sore troubled soul : 
Say ratber. Sister, you yourself are cbanged. 
Say, tbe unjust usurper of my rigbts 
Has robb'd me of a sister's tenderness. 
Tbe same as ever, I forget you not. 


Hard beart, is tbis to love as I love you. 


To rest unmoved by all mj painful sighs, 
To doom me still to sorrows manifold ? 


Sister, is this to love your brother then, 
To urge entreaties justice must refuse, 
To wish to wrest the sceptre from my hand ? 
Ye gods ! Then Eteocles himself is kind ! 
A tyrant wrongs me, yet you favour him 


Nay, I hold your interests dear. 
Think not these eyes are false that weep for you ; 
My tears conspire not with your enemies. 
That peace for which I yearn would be to me 
Torture — should Polynices lose thereby 
A throne. The only favour that I seek 
Is for a longer space to look on you, 
My Brother ; suffer me to see your face 
A few brief days, and give me time to find 
Some means that may restore you to the rank 
Which you inherit, without loss of blood 
So precious. Can you now refuse to grant 
This little favour to a sister's tears, 
A mother's sighs ? 


What have you yet to fear ? 
\JTiy wish so soon to leave us ? All this day, 
Is it not all included in the truce ? 
Must it be ended ere 'tis well begun ? 
See how your brother, laying down his arms. 
Permits our meeting, — is your will more stern ? 


Yes, Brother, his compassion passes yours ; 
His mother's tears can move him, and our grief 
To-day has forced him to disarm his wrath. 
You call him cruel ; you are worse than he. 

26 bacine's woeks. [act ii» 


My lord, no danger presses ; you may well 
Let their entreaties even yet prevail. 
Grant to their earnest wish this day, ungrudg'd, 
Perchance they may devise some happy scheme 
To heal the quarrel. Nor let Eteocles 
Have pow'r to say that, were it not for yon. 
Peace might have been. Thus will you satisfy 
A mother and a sister, yea your own 

What brings this man with looks perturb'd ? 

Scene 4. 


My lord, the truce is broken, and the fight 
Eages once more ; CJreon attacks your host ; 
The Thebans at their king's command renounce 
Their oath ; and scarce can brave Hippomedon, 
Filling your place, withstand the general charge ; 
He ordered me to tell you so, my lord. 


The traitors ! Come, my Hsemon, we must go. 

(To the Queen,) Madam, you see how well he keeps his 

Straight will I meet his challenge and attack. 
Since he will have it so. 


My Son, my Son ! — 
He hears me not. Cries are as vain as tears. 
Go, dear Antigone, with winged feet. 
Beg Hsemon to do all he can to part 
Your ruthless brothers. 

Ah ! strength fails my limbs, 
Too weak to move. One task remains — to die ! 



Scene 1. 


Olympia, go, and view the dreadful sight ; 
See if their rage has found no obstacle, 
If one or other owns no touch of shame. 
Thej say Menoeceus is gone to urge 
The claims of peace. 


Some noble purpose arm'd 
His spirit, beam'd heroic in his eye, 
And you must hope, dear Madam, to the end. 


Go, look, Olympia, and then bring me word 
Of all you see ; lighten this anxious heart. 


How can I leave you thus in solitude ? 


Go, I would be alone ; if such can be 
My lot, "with such a multitude of woes ! 

Scene 2. 

J O C A S T A. 

Ah ! will these sad afflictions last for aye. 
Nor e'er exhaust the vengeance of the gods ? 
Will they inflict a thousand cruel deaths. 
Yet hurry not my steps towards the grave ? 
Less terribly severe would be their wraths 

28 sacine's wobks. [act hi 

Were it to strike the guilty once for all ! 

How infinite their punishments appear, 

When life is left to those that suffer them ! 

Heav'n knows that since that thrice accursed day, 

When I first found I had become the wife 

Of mine own son, the sufferings I endured 

Surpassed the keenest torments of the damn*d. 

Yet, righteous gods, did an unconscious crime 

Deserve such wrath implacable ? Alas ! 

I knew him not, that luckless son of mine. 

'Twas you yourselves who led him to my arms. 

Yourselves that open'd wide the horrid gulf. 

Such is the justice of these mighty gods ! 

They bring our footsteps to the brink of crime. 

Force us to fall, and then are merciless. 

Do they delight in leading men astray, 

To make them very types of misery ? 

And can they not, when they would vent their wrath, 

Find criminals to whom the crime is sweet ? 

Scene 3. 
JocASTA, Antigone. 


Well, is all over ? one or other slain, 

Comes the proud victor to add matricide 

To slaughter of a brother ? Daughter, speak. 


Heav'n. is appeas'd, the oracle fulfilled. 


What ! My two sons are dead ? 


Another life. 
Worthy of all its royal ancestry, 
Has purchased peace for Thebes, for you repose. 


Yea, for our country sacrificed itself. 

I ran to call back Hsemon and your son. 
But ere I started they were far ahead ; 
They heard me not, and vainly did I call 
With cries of anguish on the name of each. 
They both flew swiftly to the battle-field ; 
And, as for me, mounting the ramparts* height, 
I, with the people there, watch'd in alarm. 
That seem'd to freeze our blood, the thickening fray. 
Just at that fatal moment there steps forth, 
Between the embattled ranks, our country's hope. 
The youngest yet most honoured of our blood. 
The Prince Menoeceus, worthy to be calFd 
Brother of Hsemon and too good to be 
The son of Creon ; in his zeal to show 
His love for Thebes, in th' ears of either host 
He cries : — " Halt ! Heav'n forbids th' unnatural strife ! " 
To these commanding accents all give heed. 
Astonish' d at so strange a spectacle, 
And check the darkening tempest of their rage. 
Then straightway he continues : — ** Learn," says he, 
•* The kind decree of Pate, whereby full soon 
Ye shall behold a limit to yoxir woes. 
I am the last descendant of your kings, 
Whose blood, so Heav'n has will'd, must now be shed. 
Welcome this blood then that my hand shall spill, 
And welcome peace, beyond your hopes regain'd." 
Thus speaks he, and therewith deals the death blow : 
And when the Thebans saw their hero fall. 
As tho' peace were but pain at such a cost, 
Trembling they view'd that glorious sacrifice. 
I saw th' afflicted Hsemon leave his place, 
And fondly clasp his brother's blood-stain'd form. 
While Creon in his turn threw down his arms. 
And tum'd in tears toward his dying son. 
Seeing them so absorb'd, all else forgot, 
Both armies drew apart and left the field. 
With agitated pulse and stricken soul, 
I could not look upon a sight so sad, 
Tho' full of admiration for that prince 
Heroic. ^ a 

30 eacine's WOBK8. [act iit. 


I too must admire the deed 
That makes me shudder. Is it possible, 
Ye gods, that after this Thebes still should find 
No path to peace ? Cannot this death sublime, 
Which even moves my sons to cease from war, 
Content you ? Shall this noble victim die 
Rejected ? If to virtue you incline, 
As crime you hate, if ye reward as well 
As punish, shall not guilt be wash'd away 
By this pure blood ? 


Such virtue cannot fail 
Of recompense, his life has more than paid 
The debt we owe the gods ; a hero's blood 
That of a thousand criminals outweighs 
In worth. 


You little know the wrath of Heav'n, 
That to my sorrow gives relief awhile, 
But, ever, when I think its hand is stay'd, 
Makes ready to destroy me utterly. 
This night it seems to wipe my tears away. 
To show me when I wake new scenes of blood. 
The hopes of peace with which it flatters me 
A cruel oracle for aye forbids ; 
It brings my son, and bids me look on him. 
But ah, how dearly purchased is that joy ! 
My son is deaf to all my earnest pray'rs. 
Leaves me in sudden haste, and takes the field. 
Thus ever cruel bums the wrath of Heav'n ; 
It only mocks us when it seems appeas'd. 
And grows more fierce ; it interrupts its blows. 
To make them fall the heavier, and withdraws 
Its arm to crush me. 

From this last wonder. 


Let us hope all good 



Can I, while my sons 
Eemain unreconciled ? The younger heeds 
Nought but his rights ; the other only hears 
The people's voice, and Creon's, whose base greed 
Bobs all his son's devotion of its fruit. 
That gallant prince to save us dies in vain, 
His father harms us more than he can help. 
That faithless sire of two young heroes — 


My Mother, see, he comes, and with the King. 

Scene 4. 
JocASTA, Eteocles, Antigone, Ceeon. 


'Tis thus, my Son, then, that kings keep their word ! 


Madam, this fray was not begun by me. 
But by some soldiers, Argives and our own. 
Who, having quarrell'd with each other, drew 
Their comrades on to help them, till at length 
A mere dispute into a battle turn'd : 
A bloody one it doubtless would have been. 
And settled once for all our rival claims. 
Had not Menoeceus by his noble end 
Held back the arms of all the combatants. 
That prince, last offspring of our royal race. 
Transported wiih a patriotic love. 
The fateful answer of the gods took home. 
And gave himself to Death right willingly. 


Oh, if Menoeceus loved his country so 

That Life's sweet charm paled in comparison. 

32 racine's woeks. [act hi. 

Cannot that self- same love at least avail 
To check the fierce ambition of my son ? 
His grand example bids you follow him, 
But not to die, nor even cease to reign : 
You may by slight concession yet do more 
Than all his blood outpour'd on our behalf. 
Cease but to hate your brother, nothing else, 
And you will bless us better than that death 
Of self-devotion. Is it harder, say, 
To love a brother, than, despising Life, 
To rush into Death's arms ? Easier for him 
To shed his blood, than you to cherish yours ? 


His virtue I admire no less than you. 

And even envy such a glorious death. 

Yet must I tell you, Madam, 'tis a task 

More difficult to quit a throne than life. 

G-lory full oft makes us in love with death, 

But few kings deem it glorious to obey. 

The gods required his life, nor could the prince 

Without disgrace refuse the sacrifice. 

But as from him our country claim'd his blood. 

So doth she bid me keep my throne and reign ; 

And there, until she oust me, must I stay. , 

Let her but speak, and straight will I submit ; 

Yea, Thebes shall see me, to appease her Fate, 

Lay down the sceptre, and my life as well. 


My son is dead, nor do the gods require 
Another victim. Let no blood of yours 
Mingle with his. To give us peace he died. 
Live you to grant it to our just desires. 


What ! even Creon on the side of peace ? 


For having loved too long this barbarous war. 


You see how Heav'n has whelm'd me in despair : 
My son is dead. 


And he must be aveng'd. 


On whom should I take vengeance for this stroke 
Of misery ? 


Yoxir foes are those of Thebes : 
Avenge her and yourself. 


Among her foes 
I find your brother, and my elder son : 
How can I spill the blood that you and I 
Partake? And, one son lost, take my revenge 
Upon the other ? 'Twould be sacrilege 
To slay your brother, and to slay my son 
Would outrage Nature. Shall I stain my hand 
With blood so sacred, or with blood so dear ? 
Can a good father by such cruel aid 
Eelieve his heart ? 'Twere ruin, not revenge ! 
One thought alone is like a healing balm, 
My sorrows may at least your sceptre serve, 
I shall have comfort, if the son I mourn 
Brings by his death assured repose to Thebes. 
Peace Heav'n has promised to Menoeceus' blood : 
Complete, my liege, what he has well begun, 
Grant him the price he has a right to claim. 
Nor fruitless let his self-devotion prove. 


Since you are led to feel for our distress, 
Menoeceus' blood may work more wonders yet. 
After this miracle, let Thebes take heart. 
That which has altered you will change her lot. 
Henceforth is peace no longer desperate ; 
Nay, 'tis assured if Creon wills it so. 


34 eacine's works. [act iti. 

Soon will those iron hearts in pity melt : 
My sons may well submit to pow'r that bends 
The mind of Creon. 


Let this change in him 
Move you, my son, to lay your arms aside. 
And banish savage hatred from your breast. 
G-ive comfort to a mother, and console 
Creon ; restore to both of us a son. 


To grant your wish would turn me from a king 
Into a subject. Polynices claims 
The sovereign pow'r o'er me as well as Thebes ; 
With sceptred hand alone will he return. 

Scene 5. 


Sire, Polynices begs an interview ; 
A herald has arrived to tell us so. 
He offers either to come here himself, 
Or in his camp await you. 


It may be 
That, grown more mild, he fain would end this war, 
So long protracted, and ambition owns 
A check ; by this last battle taught to-day 
Your pow'r at least is equal to his own. 
The Greeks have served his fury long enough, 
Yea, and the royal father of his bride. 
Preferring solid peace t* imstable war. 
Keeps, as I hear, Mycense for himself, 
And makes him king of Argos. Brave indeed. 
But prudent too, he seeks but to retreat 
With honour. By this offer he means peace ; 


To-day must see it ratified, or else 
For ever broken. You may thus secure 
A firmer seat ; let him have all he asks, 
Except the diadem. 

Is what he craves. 


And that alone 


See him at least. 


Yes, meet 
His wish ; alone you will transcend our pow'r 
To make the ties of blood again prevail. 


Let us then go to him. 


In Heaven's name, 
Eather await his presence here, my Son. 


Well, Madam, be it so ; and let him have 
Safe conduct, and all due security. 
Now let us go. 


^ If peace this day return 
To Thebes, to Creon we shall owe the boon. 

Scene 6. 
Creon, Attaltjs. 


'Tis not the weal of Thebes that touches you. 
Proud Princess ; and your soul untamable. 
That seems to flatter where it scorn'd so long, 

36 eagine's works. [act hi. 

Thinks less of peace than of my son's return. 
But we shall see ere long if her disdain 
Will hold the throne as cheap as Creon's heart ; 
Soon shall we see, when Heaven has made me king, 
Whether the son's luck will eclipse the sire's. 


Who would not marvel at a change so rare ! 
Creon himself declaring now for peace ' 


You think that peace then is the goal I seek ? 


It needs no musing to think that, my lord ; 
And seeing, as I do, your eager zeal, 
Much I admire the generous resolve 
Which makes you bury hatred in the tomb ; 
Menceceus, dying, did no nobler deed. 
For he who can resentment sacrifice 
For patriotism, would not spare his life. 


Ah ! doubtless he who can constrain his will 

To love his foe may make a friend of death. 

But why should I forego my dear revenge. 

And undertake my enemy's defence ? 

'Twas Polynices really slew my son ; 

Should I become his abject advocate ? 

And were I e'en to crush this deadly hate, 

Could I the better cease to love the crown ? 

Nay, you shall see me, with unshaken zeal. 

Alike abhor my foes and long for pow'r. 

The throne is ever my most cherish'd hope : 

I blush to be a subject where my sires 

Were kings ; I burn to reach the same high rank. 

This is the object I have had in view 

Since I could see. Now for two years and more 

Each step has brought me nearer to my goal : 

The fury of my nephews I have fed. 


'Tis my ambition makes me foster their's ; 
'Twas I who first made Eteocles refuse 
To let his brother reign, therein unjust. 
But strong thro' my support, lent for a while. 
To dispossess him later, and myself 
Place on the throne. 


But if so keen for war, 
Why do you snatch the weapons from their hands ? 
Since their dissension is what you desire, 
How comes it that they meet by your advice ? 


The war has proved more fatal to myself 

Than to my foes ; the gods are too unkind ; 

The plan I f orm*d is made to work my woe, 

'Tis mine own hand they use to stab my heart. 

Soon as the war was kindled, chastisement 

Began for me, when Hsemon left my side 

For Polynices ; I it was who fann'd 

The brothers' enmify, and found a foe 

In my own son. The broken truce, to-day, 

Was due to me, 'twas I who roused the strife 

That led to bloodshed, till the desperate deed 

Of my Menoeceus cut the chain I wove. 

Still have I left a son, whom still I love, 

A rebel tho' he be, and rival too ; 

Him would I save when I destroy my foes ; 

To lose them both would be too dear a price. 

Besides, the Princes hate each other so. 

Be sure they never will consent to peace ; 

Well know I how to make the venom work, 

'Till they would rather die than be at one. 

Brief may be enmity with other foes. 

But when the bonds of Nature have been snapt. 

Nothing can re-unite the sunder'd hearts 

Which ties of love so strong have f ail'd to hold : 

When brothers hate, their hatred knows no bounds. 

But absence cools their wrath, for when a foe. 

One whom we most detest, is out of sight. 

38 bacine's works. [act iv. 

Resentment loses half its bitterness. 
Be not surprised then I would have them meet ; 
I wish their eyes to reinforce their rage, 
That they, with hatred cherish'd not expell'd, 
May feel their false embraces stifle them. 


More than aught else you have yourself to dread, 
Remorse may torture brows that wear a crown. 


The throne, when once attained, brings other cares. 

Remorse weighs lightly in comparison. 

The mind that is engross'd with present pow'r 

Dwells not upon the visions of the past ; 

It separates itself from what it was, 

And deems its life began with sovereignty. 

Come, let us go. Remorse affects me not. 

Nor do I own a heart that guilt can scare : 

All the first steps to crime some effort cost. 

But easy those that follow. Attains. •• 


Scene 1. 

Eteocles, Cseon. 


Yes, Creon, to this spot he soon will come, 
And here we may await him, both of us. 
Then learn what he would have ; upoii my word 
I think this meeting augurs little good. 
I know his overbearing temper well ; 
He hates me with a hatred unimpair'd. 
Whose course, I ween, no mortal may arrest ; 
And I, I hate him always, that's the truth. 



But if lie now at length resigns his claim 
To royalty, your hatred shoiild subside. 


I think my heart will never be appeas'd ; 

'Tis not his pride, it is himself I hate. 

Eelentless is our mutual enmity ; 

'Tis not a twelvemonth's work, 'twas born with us. 

And its dark venom, Creon, reach'd our hearts 

As soon as life itself. We were sworn foes 

In tenderest childhood ; yea, before our birth 

That enmity began, fatal effect 

Of our incestuous blood and parentage ! 

While yet imprisoned in the self -same womb. 

We struggled hard, and made my mother feel 

Where our divisions had their origin. 

They flourished in the cradle, as you know ; 

E'en to the tomb perchance they'll follow us. 

It seems as tho' the dire decree of Heav'n 

Would brand the incest of our parents thus. 

And in our persons let the world behold 

The blackest hues of hatred as of love. 

Whilst I await his coming, Creon, now, 

Think not I hate him less than I have done : 

The nearer his approach, more odious he. 

And my abhorrence must before his eyes 

Break forth ; I would not have him quit his claim, 

He must be made to fly, not thus retire. 

I will have no half -measures for my hate, 

I dread his friendship more than all his wrath. 

To give my animosity full scope, 

I'd have his rage at least sanction my own ; 

And, since my heart cannot betray itself. 

To hate him freely, I would have him show 

Hatred for me. His rage is still the same. 

As you will see ; still covets he the crown ; 

Still curses me for keeping him therefrom ; 

More easy he to be subdued than won. 

40 bacine's works. [act IV. 


Subdue him then, my lord, if he remains 
Stubborn ; however arrogant he be. 
He's not invincible ; and, when his heart 
Is deaf to reason, prove what can be done 
By your resistless sword ; tho' I love peace, 
I will be first to take up arms again ; 
I ask'd for their suspension it is true. 
But more I wish that you should ever reign. 
Bather may war blaze forth and never end. 
Than Polynices should return with peace ; 
Let others boast her charms, I scorn them then ; 
War's honours please me, so we lose not you. 
Thebes by my mouth implores you, crush us not 
Beneath the heel of that ferocious prince : 
She yearns, like me, for peace, if possible ; 
But, if you love her, grant her chief desire, — 
To keep her king. Yet to your brother give 
A patient ear ; and, if you can, conceal 
Your wrath — but someone comes. 

Scene 2. 
Eteocles, Creon, Attaltjs. 


Are they at hand ? 
Will they come. Attains ? 


Yea, Sire, they're here, 
And, meeting first the Princess and the Queen, 
To the next chamber will proceed anon. 


Well, let them enter. Waiting which approach. 
My wrath grows hot. How we do hate a foe 
Wlien he is near us ! 



Ah ! he comes 

(Aside.) Fulfil 
My efforts, Fortune ; madden both with ra^e ! 

Scene 3. 

JocASTA, Eteocles, Polynicbs, Antigone, Hjemon, 


Thus are my wishes crown'd with glad success, 

Since Heav'n has brought you both together here. 

After two years of absence, each beholds 

Once more a brother, in this palace where 

Your days began ; and I, beyond my hopes 

Made happy, may embrace you both at once. 

Henceforth, my Sons, dwell thus in unity. 

Owning the bonds of brotherhood, and trace 

Each in the other's countenance his own ; 

But to judge better, take a nearer view ; 

Heed the strong tie that kindred blood proclaims. 

Come, Eteocles ; and Polynices, come. 

Approach each .other. — What ! you both draw back ? 

Why this cold greeting ? Why these darkening frowns ? 

Is it that each, with mind irresolute. 

Waits till his brother makes the first advance, 

(Deeming it generous to be last to yield,) 

So both refuse to offer an embrace ? 

What strange ambition this, that but to crime 

Aspires, confounding honour with revenge ! 

This shameful strife should make the victor blush, 

The noblest will be first to own defeat. 

Which has the greater courage, show me now 

By being first to triumph over rage, — 

What ! neither stirs ! Let Polynices give 

A friendly greeting ; coming from afar. 

You should begin ; embrace your brother now. 

And show him — 

42 bacine's works. [act iv. 


Madam, little boots it thus 
To mask the truth ; such greetings are misplaced, 
Let him explain, speak, and resolve my doubts. 


What ! Have I yet to inake my wishes known ? 
Surely the past has made them manifest : 
Has not the blood in many a conflict shed 
Declared sufficiently my claim to reign ? 


These self-same battles, and that blood, outpour'd 
So oft upon the crimson-mantle'd earth, 
Have told full plainly that the throne is mine, 
And, while I live, cannot to you belong. 


You hold your seat unjustly, as you know. 


Wrong suits me well,. so I but banish you. 


Tho' you refuse to leave it, yet therefrom 
You'll be perchance thrown down.' 


And if I fall, 
'Tis like you'll share my ruin. 


Ah ! to find 
Blasted such budding hopes ! Was it for this 
I urged so oft this fatal interview. 
Inflaming discord ? Is this then to treat 
Of terms of peace ? Drive out your deadly thoughts ; 
And, in the name of Heav'n, forget your wrath. 


Is it jour mother arms your hands anew ? 
Here you are met, not on the bloody field, 
But in your home, my Sons, where you were bom : 
At each familiar sight subdue your rage, 
Nor let your common birthplace lack respect ; 
All that is here speaks but of peace and love ; 
These princes and your sister blame your strife. 
Nor least myself, who ever have for you 
Suffered and toil'd, and would, to quell your feud. 

Give up 

They turn their heads and heed me not I 
Alas for stubborn hearts as hard as stone ! 
The voice of Nature meets no echo there ! 
{To PoLYNiCES.) And you, whom I supposed of milder 
mood, — 


I only claim what he has promised me, 
For he is perjured if he reigns alone. 


XJntemper'd justice oft is injury. 

I cannot contradict your right to rule ; 

But you upset the throne you fain would mount. 

Are you not weary of this frightful war ? 

Woidd you lay waste this land without remorse. 

And to obtain the kingdom ruin it ? 

Is it then o'er the dead you wish to reign ? 

Thebes has good cause to dread that prince's sway 

Who floods her fair domains with streams of blood : 

Will she obey one who has wrong'd her thus ? 

You are her tyrant ere you are her king. 

Ah ! to grow great means of ttimes to grow worse. 

And virtue wanes when sovereignty is won. 

Raised to the throne, alas, what will you be. 

Since you are cruel now, debarred from pow'r ? 


If I am cruel, 'tis by stem constraint ; 

I am not master of the deeds I do. 

I see myself with shame forced to commit 


Acts most abhorrent, and the people's fear 

Is all unjust. No longer will I wound 

My country's peace, her groans affict my soul. 

Too copious streams of guiltless blood have flow'd 

Incessant ; I must heal her miseries ; 

Nor Thebes nor Greece shall mourn or suffer more, 

I will confront the author of my ills, 

His blood or mine suffices for to-day. 


Your brother's blood? 


Yes, Madam, even his : 
A fitting end to this inhuman war. 
Such is the errand which has brought me here, — 
To challenge you myself ; nor did I dare 
To speak of it to others than to you. 
For any other would have blamed the tliought. 
And no one here have been my deputy. 
So I am mine own herald. 'Tis for you 
To prove that you can keep what you have seized. 
Show yourself worthy of a prize so fair. 


Your challenge I accept, and that with joy, 
Creon knows well it was my own desire ; 
It gave me less delight t' accept the throne. 
You show that you deserve the diadem 
Which at the point of this my sword I beg 
To offer. 


Hasten then, and pierce this heart, 
With me commence your cruel enterprise ; 
Porget that it was I who gave you burth, 
Remember only that your brother drew 
His life from me ; and, if you seek his blood. 
In my unhappy bosom find its source. 
I am the common enemy of both, 
Being the mother of your hated foe. 



Who never but for me had seen the light. 
If he must die, shall I not die as well ? 
Nay, doubt it not, for I will share his death ; 
You must include us both, or neither slay. 
Perfect your clemency or cruelty, 
And take my life, or spare your enemy. 
If Virtue charms you, and if Honour guides, 
Blush, ye barbarians, at a crime like this ; 
Or if to each of you such sin is sweet. 
Then blush, barbarians, to commit but one. 
Nor is it love, indeed, that stays your hands. 
If, when you seek his life, you save my own : 
Your cruelty would grudge forsooth to spare 
Me too, if I one moment. stood between 
The throne and you. Is this the way to treat 
A mother ? 


I would spare my country. 



And kill your brother. 


Nay, but punish guilt. 


His blood will make you guiltier far than he. 


Must then this hand of mine a traitor crown ? 
And must I service seek at foreign courts, 
Quit my ancestral realms, a vagabond, 
And pay submission to the laws he scorns ? 
Shall I become the victim of his greed ? 
What ! Is the crown the heritage of crime'? 
Has he not set. at nought each right he owes ? 
And while I am an exile, he is king. 

46 bacinb's wobks. [act it. 


But what if Argos grants you, too, a crown ? 


Am I to seek elsewhere what right of birth 

Bestows ? And, craving his alUance, bring 

Nothing myself, but owe to his good will 

All future rank, banish'd from mine own throne, 

And suing humbly to a foreign prince? 

No, no, I cannot cringe to pay him court. 

To whom I owe my life will I too owe 

My sceptre. 


From the father of your bride, 
Or from your own, you may accept the gift 
As one of equal price. 


They differ much. 
One makes me king, the other but a slave. 
What ! Shall my greatness be a woman's work ? 
Thereat my very soul might blush with shame. 
Shall then I owe my sceptre to my love. 
And only as a bridegroom reign a king ? 
Nay, my own right shall raise me to the throne. 
Or I renounce it. With unborrowed pow*r, 
Let mine be sole command, hated perchance, 
Yet well obey'd, if not for love, from fear. 
In fine, I wiU be master of my fate. 
And scorn to wear a crown that is not mine. 
My birth entitles me to reign, or else 
I wish no succour but my own right arm. 


Do more, my son, hold fast this bold resolve. 
And let your arm alone your fortune win ; 
Disdain the steps that other sovereigns tread, 
And let your own hands carve the way that leads 
To greatness. Crown yourself with famous deeds. 


And be your diadem the victor's bays ; 

Conquer and reign ; let martial glory add 

New lustre to the purple that kings wear. 

What ! Can my son's ambition be content 

To wield the sceptre each alternate year ? 

Let that brave heart, which nothing can subdue. 

Seek for some throne which you may mount alone : 

Thousands there are 'mid which your sword may choose, 

But stain not this one with a brother's blood. 

Your triumphs then will bring your mother joy. 

And e'en your rival aid your victories. 


Would you that I, flatter'd with these vain dreams, 
Leave a usurper on my father's throne ? 


If you, indeed, wish him such grievous ill. 

Raise him yourseK to this ill-omen'd throne. 

So plunge him in a deep abyss of woe ; 

For baleful lightnings and the curse of crime 

Beset it. Yea, your father and his sires, 

Soon as they moimted, saw themselves cast down. 


What tho' I meet the thunderbolts of Heav'n, 
Rather mount there than crawl upon the ground. 
My heart is envious of such misery. 
Eager to rise, e'en if to fall with them. 


Nay, I will spare you such a fruitless fate. 


Your ruin, trust me, shall precede my own. 


My Son, the people love his rule. 

48 bacine's works. [act iv. 


'Tis hateful. 


They support him. 


And the gods 
Back me. 


Not SO, 'tis they forbid your quest. 
Since they have giv*n to me this sceptre first ; 
And, when they made the choice, they knew full well 
That he who once is king would king remain. 
No realm can brook two masters ; and one throne, 
How great soe'er, will grant them scanty room ; 
Each will be cumber'd by his second self, 
And one ere long must &id himself upset 
You see how I abhor this impious wretch. 
Then judge how I can let him share my crown. 


And I, so hateful are you, wish no more 
To share with you the light that's free to all. 


Go, kill each other then, I stay you not. 
But rather urge you to these savage lists ; 
Since all my efforts can effect no change. 
Why tarry longer ? Wreak your wild revenge. 
Surpass, if possible, your fathers' crimes ; 
By mutual slaughter show your brotherhood ; 
Your life, bestow'd thro' guilt of deepest dye. 
Must be by no less wickedness cut off. 
Why should I blame the fury that goads on 
My sons, for I have ceased to pity them ? 
Yea, they have taught this heart to turn to stone, 
And I will teach the cruel how to die. 


Scene 4, 

Antigone, Eteocles, Poltnices, Hjemon, Gbeon. 

Mother — 

Ah, what is this ? Can nothing touch 
Their hearts ? 


No, nor their savage purpose shake. 


My brothers — 


Come then, let us choose our ground. 


Yea, with all speed. 

Sister, farewell ! 


Sweet Princess ! 


Stop, my Brothers ! Let the guards 
Hold them perforce ; ]oin all your pains to mine ; 
'Tis to be cruel to show false respect. 


Dear Lady, nothing more can stop them now. 


Ah, noble Hsemon, 'tis to you I turn, 
And only you. If still you love me, still 
Love goodness, and can fratricide prevent, 
To save me from despair, these wretches save. 



ACT v.. 

Scene 1. 


What wilt thou do, unfortunate Princess ? 

Now that these arms have clasp'd a mother dead ? 

Canst thou not follow where her feet have led. 
And end, with life, this burden of distress ? 
Wilt thou reserve thyself for future woe ? 
Full soon the fatal issue shalt thou know 

Of those fell arms thy brothers wield in fight. 
Their fierce example whets the knife for thee ; 

While thou art shedding tears in piteous plight, 
They shed each other's blood with savage glee. 

What limit is there to my woes but death ? 
Ah, whither else can grief like mine repair ? 
Life or the grave ! A mother calls me there, 
A lover here would keep my vital breath ; 
In the dark underworld for me she waits ; 
Love interdicts what reason best dictates, 

For death I cease to long. 
What motives bid me die this very hour ! 
Yet ties to life how strong, 
When love exerts his pow'r ! 

Yes, love forbids my soul to wing her flight ; 
The victor's voice is one I know full well : 
Tho' hope is dead, no more with me to dwell, 
Thou livest, and would' st have me share this light ; 
Thou say'st that I shall draw thee to my grave, 
That, if I love thee still, I ought to save 

Life's torch alight for thee. 
Haemon, thou see'st how thou my heart canst move, 

Tho' death seem sweet to me, 

I live for thee and love. 

If e'er thou doubtedst of my faithful flame- 
But fatal tidings, lo, Olympia brings ! 


Scene 2. 

Antigone, Olympia, 

Well, dear Olympia, have you seen this crime 


Hastening in vain, I came when all was o'er, 
Down from our ramparts saw the people run, 
Some weeping, others calling out to arms ; 
And in a word to tell what caus'd their fear, — 
The King is dead, his brother's sword has won. 
Of Haemon too thej tell, how with stout heart 
Long he endeavour'd to hold back their rage, 
But all his efforts fail'd to win success. 
Such was the drift of many a vague report. 


Yes, I am sure that Haemon's generous heart 
Ever abhorr'd such signal wickedness : 
Oft I implored him to prevent this crime, 
And know he would have done it if he could. 
But, ah, their fury would not brook control. 
Eager to quench its fire in streams of blood. 
Now, savage Princes, ye are satisfied. 
For Death alone could peace between you bring. 
Ye thought the throne too strait to hold you both 
(No distance that could part you seem'd enough). 
And wish'd that Heav'n, to make your quarrel cease, 
Might leave one living and the other dead. 
Worthy of pity, both, a hapless pair ! 
Yet are ye less unhappy than myself. 
As being all unconscious of those ills 
That f eU upon you, while I feel them all ! 


But your misfortune were more hard to bear. 
Had Polynices been the prey of Death ; 

52 bacine's works. [act t. 

He was tlie object that engrossed your care. 
The welfare of the King touched you far less. 


'Tis true, I loved him with a love sincere, 
More, fondly than his brother. Why was this ? 
What gave him the warm wishes of my heart ? 
He was both blameless and unfortimate, 
But, ah, that generous spirit lives no more, 
'Tis crime that sets the crown upon his head : 
His brother now commands more sympathy, 
Grown dearer since the Fates have proved unkind. 


See, Creon comes. 


Downcast, as well may be : 
The King being dead, he fears the victor's wrath. 
His evil counsel has bred all these woes. 

Scene 3. 
Antigone, Ckeon, Oltmpia, Attalus, Guabds. 


What heard I, Madam, as I enter'd here ? 
True is it that the Queen — ? 


Yes, she is dead. 


Great gods ! In what strange fashion was the torch 
At last extinguished of a life so sad ? 


Her grave she open'd for herself, my lord ; 
She seized a dagger, and one moment more 
Saw her days ended and her woes as well. 



Nor stay'd to know that she had lost a son. 


Ah, Madam, 'tis too true the angry gods — 


Charge with my brother's death yourself alone. 
Nor for yo\ir deeds accuse the wrath of Heav'n. 
'Twas you who brought this fatal conflict on : 
He tmsted your advice, and so he died : 
Thus kings become victims of flatterers, 
Who lead them to destruction, while they fan 
Their passions. Ye it is that hurl them down ; 
But in their fall they drag their flatterers 
Behind them, as is now the case with you. 
His ruin brings us sorrow, you disgrace : 
The wrath of Heav'n has link'd your fate with his, 
And you, perchance, must weep as well as we. 


Too true, alas ! for cruel Destiny 

Makes you lament two brothers, me two sons. 


Two brothers, and two sons ! What mean your words ? 
Did Eteocles then perish not alone ? 


What ! have you yet to hear this tale of blood ? 


I know of Polynices' victory, 

How Hsemon's efforts made to part them fail'd. 


That duel had result more terrible. 

My losses and your own you know not yet. 

But now shall learn them both. Woe worth the day ! 

54 eacine's woeks. [act v. 


Stern Destiny, accomplish thy revenge ! 
Oh, surely this must be thy final stroke ! 


Madam, you saw with what impetuous rage 

The princes went to take each other's life. 

How forth they rush'd, with equal ardour fired. 

And hearts that ne'er agreed so well before ; 

Each thirsting, panting for the other's blood, 

Their hatred bound them closer than their birth, 

And seem'd to reconcile their enmity ; 

When eager most to slay, appearing friends. 

First did they choose their ground whereon to fight, 

Near either camp, and underneath the wall. 

'Twas there, recovering their fatal wrath. 

The horrid conflict they at last began. 

With threatening gestures and an eye of flame, 

They sought a passage thro' each other's breast ; 

Then quick as lightning fell their furious strokes. 

Till both seem'd fain t' outstrip the feet of Death, 

My son, who sigh'd with sorrow in his soul, 

Bearing in mind your orders, fair Princess, 

Between them ran, despising for your sake 

Their strict commands that kept us all aloof. 

He push'd them back, and, praying, held their arms. 

Exposing to their frenzy his own life. 

So he might part them, but he strove in vain, 

For ever they renew' d their dose attack. 

But still with heart undaunted he persists. 

And turns aside a thousand rattling blows. 

Till the King's weapon with too cruel thrust, 

(If aim'd at him or not I cannot tell,) 

Stretches my son, expiring, at his feet. 


And me my sorrow leaves e'en yet alive ! 


I ran to raise and take him in my arms ; 


He knew his father's voice, and whisper'd low : — 
" For my dear mistress I meet death with joy. 
Your anxious love hastes to my help in vain ; 
These madmen more than I your succour need. 
Part them, my Father, and leave me to die." 

Thus speaking, he expired. That piteous sight 
Check'd not the darkening tempest of their wrath, 
And only Polynices seem'd to feel 
Compassion's touch. 

" Wait, Hsemon," he exclaim'd, 
" And you shall be avenged ! " 

Grief gave his rage 
New strength, and soon to his advantage tum'd 
The tide of battle. Wounded in the side. 
The King fell vanquish'd, weltering in his blood. 

Transported with their feelings, either host 
Kesign'd itself to sorrow or to joy ; 
And Thebes, alarm'd at her disastrous loss, 
GTazed from her ramparts with expectant fears. 
Then Polynices felt triumphant pride. 
Viewing his dying victim with delight. 
And seem'd as 't wera to drink his brother's blood. 
•* The grave," quoth he, " is yours, and mine the throne ! 
See in my hands the sceptre and the palm ! 
Go to the world below, — ^there blush with shame 
At my success. To vex your dying hour 
Yet more, think, traitor, that you die my slave." 

He spake, and, with a gesture of disdain 
Approaching where the King lay in the dust, 
Stretch'd forth his arm to take the other's sword. 
The King, tho' seeming dead, his steps had watch'd, 
Biding his time, and his indignant soul 
Was, as it were, arrested in its flight 
By that grand passion for revenge, which still 
Flatter'd his hopes and his last sigh delay'd. 
The struggling spark of life, too well conceal'd. 
Ensnared his conqueror to a fatal doom ; 
For at the instant when that savage brother 
Essay'd to vnrest his weapon from his hand. 
He pierced his rival's heart ; and his glad soul 
With this its final effort left the world. 


From stricken Polynices rose a cry 

Of anguish, and his angry soul forth fled 

To Hades. But dark wrath upon his brow 

Was branded, tho' it wore death's pallid hue, 

As threatenixig, one would say, his brother still. 

More grim than ever, and more terrible. 


Fatal ambition, blinded by the gods ! 

Clear sequel of a cruel oracle ! 

Alone of royal blood we two are left. 

And would to Heav'n that life was only yours. 

And that despair, more speedy than its wrath, 

Had made my mother's death prelude my own ! 


*Tis true the flaming fuiy of the gods 
Seems to have spent itself in dealing forth 
Destruction on our house ; their wrath has whelm'd 
My soul, no less than it has tortured you. 
They 've robb'd me of my sons — 


And giv'n a throne ! 
A worthy recompense for Heemon's loss. 
But prithee let me mourn in solitude, 
Nor seek the course of sadness to restrain, 
As well might all my sorrows pass to you ; 
Far sweeter entertainment will you find 
Elsewhere ; the throne awaits you, and the voice 
Of Thebes invites. Taste the fresh draught of pow'r. 
Farewell. Our feelings are in ill accord : 
I fain would weep, and you would reign a king. 

CREON (stopping antigone). 

Ah, Madam, be a queen, and mount the throne ; 
For this high rank belongs to none but you. 



I Much rather, Creon, would I have you there, 
The crown is yours. 


I lay it at your feet. 


I would refuse it if the gods themselves 
Should offer it, and dare you to present 
The crown to me ? 


Its glory in my eyes 
Grows pale before the honour I should feel 
In homage to your beauty. Well I know 
Myself unworthy, but if I may claim 
Such high distinction, if illustrious deeds 
May merit it, what must I do ? 


As I 

Shall teach you. 


What, indeed, to win such grace 
Would be too much ! But issue your commands 
And I am ready. 

ANTIGONE (going away). 
We shall see. 

CREON (foUowifi^ her), 

1 wait 
Your bidding here. 

ANTIGONE (going away). 

68 racinb's works. [act v. 

Scene 4. 
Ceeon, Attalus, Gtjaeds. 


Say, is her wrath 
AssTiaged ? Think you to bend her will ? 


'Tis done, 
Dear Attalus ; no fortune equals mine. 
You shall behold in me this happy day 
Ambition throned and love supremely blest. 
I ask'd of Heav'n the sceptre and her hand. 
And graciously the gods have granted both. 
To crown my head, and give my flame success. 
Hatred no less than love they arm to-day, 
Kindling two passions which, tho' contrary. 
Aid me alike, in her a tenderness 
Which overcomes her late severity, 
And in her brothers wrath implacable. 
Opening the way to sovereignty for me. 
As to her heart — 


All smiles propitiously ; 
And were you not a father, happiness 
Would be complete. Love and ambition find 
Full scope ; but Nature needs must mourn the loss 
Of two such sons. 


Yes, it distresses me ; 
I know what from a father's heart is due. 
And such was mine. But I was bom to reign, 
And less I lose than what I think to win. 
The name of father, Attalus, is trite, 
A gift that Heav'n bestows on almost all ; 
A happiness so common I can slight. 
Compared with what will make all envious. 
A throne is not a boon of which the gods 


Are prodigal ; it parts us from tlie herd 

Of mortals ; few are honoured with a dow'r 

So precious. Earth has fewer kings than Heav'n 

Has gods. Besides, you know how Hsemon loved 

The Princess, and his passion was retum'd ; 

His suit, if he had lived, had ruin'd mine. 

The gods bereave me of a son, but thus 

They rid me of a rival. Speak of joy, 

And not of sorrow ; leave my raptures free 

From sad remembrance of the shades of death. 

Tell me of what I gain, not what I lose. 

Speak of the throne, already mine, — of her 

Whose heart will follow, fair Antigone. 

All that is past is but a dream to me ; 

So late a father and a subject, now 

A bridegroom and a king ; so sweet a change 


But Olympia comes ! 


Ah, and in tears I 

Scene 5. 
Creon, Olympia, Attalus, Guards* 


Whom wait you. Sire ? The Princess is no more. 

No more, Olympia 1 



Vain is all regret. 
She had but reached the chamber next to this, 
When, ere I could perceive her fell design, 
Boldly she plunged into her beauteous breast 
The self- same dagger which had slain the Queen. 
Therewith a mortal woimd did she inflict, 7 Q 

60 bacine's works. [act v. 

And, faint with loss of blood, fell suddenly. 
Judge what my horror must have been to see 
That sight ; her soul was ready to take wing. 
But first she murmur' d, — " 'Tis for you I die, 
Dear Hsemon," — and life ended as she spake. 
Cold in my arms I felt her lovely frame. 
And thought my soul would quickly follow hers. 
Far happier had my sorrow brought me down 
To share with her the darkness of the tomb ! 

Scene 6. 
Creon, Attalus, Guards. 


Ah, is it thus then that you flee from me. 
Your hated suitor, and in cruel scorn 
Could quench those lovely orbs that I adore. 
And seal them close lest they should look on me. 
HsBmon you loved, but less to follow him 
Than to escape from me, such haste to die ! 
And yet, tho* thus severe you may remain. 
Hating my image e'en amongst the shades. 
Letting your wrath outlive the breath of life, 
I am resolved to follow where you lead ; 
There shall my odious presence vex you still, 
Incessant sighs to you r^eat my pain, 
Which, if they cannot m^t you, must torment, 
No longer hoping for escape by death. 
Let me then die — 

ATTALXTS (snatching his sword away from him), 
A cruel wish, my lord ! 


Nay, yours the cruelty who murder me 
By saving life ! Come to my succour, love ; 
Come rage and fury, end my hateful days ! 


Baffle those cruel friends tliat keep me here ! 

Fulfil your oracles, ye gods, yourselves ! 

Last relic of ill-fated Laius, I 

Must perish, or your words be proved untrue ; 

Take back the fatal sceptre you have giv'n ; 

Antigone is gone, take all the rest : 

I scorn your presents, and reject the throne. 

The lightning's stroke is all I ask of you. 

If deaf to pray'r, grant what my crimes demand, 

And add another victim to your heap. 

Vainly I sue, my own iniquities 
Bring down upon my head the ills I caused. 
Jocasta, and her sons, Antigone, 
My children, whom^my fierce ambition slew. 
And all the others whom I sacrificed. 
Already like dire Furies rend my heart. 
Cease — 

By my death your wrongs shall be avenged ; 
The lightning falls, the earth has open'd wide ; 
I feel a thousand torments all at once. 
And go to find repose in Tartarus. 

(He folia into the arms of the guards.) 

i[ G'^'^ 


Qoc- l(-l) I^X. 






THE story of this drama is derived from Qumtus 
Curtius, Plutarch, and Justin. The real hero is 
Forus rather than Alexander ; and when it was first acted 
in 1665, mention is made of it imder the former title. 
Sacine himself writes thus : — *< I have endeavoured to re- 
present in PoruB an enemy worthy of Alexander; and 
I may say that his character has met with a high degree 
of public favour, and some have even censured me for 
making this prince greater than Alexander. But such 
persons forget that in virtue of his victory Alexander 
is really greater than Poms, that every line of the tragedy 
reflects his praises, and that even the invectives of Porus 
and Axiana are so many tributes to the conqueror's valour. 
There is perhaps in Porus something that interests us 
more, from the very circumstance of his misf ortimes ; for, 
as Seneca has remarked, ' we are naturally disposed to ad- 
mire nothing in the world so much as a man who can bear 
adversity with courage.' " 



t1«L, } ''^^ ^^!>'- 

AxiANA, Queen of another pari of India. 

Cleophila, sister qf Taxiles, 


Attendants of Alexander. 

Tho scene is laid on the banks of the Hydaspes, in the 
camp of Taxiles. 




Scene 1. 
Taxiles, Cleophila. 


What ! go you to resist a king whose might 

Seems to force Heav'n itself to take his side, 

Before whose feet have fallen all the kings 

Of Asia, who holds Fortune at his beck ? 

Open your eyes, my brother, and behold 

In Alexander one who casts down thrones. 

Binds kings in chains, and makes whole nations slaves ; 

And all the ills they have incurr'd prevent. 


Would you that, stricken with so mean a fear, 
I bow my head to meet his threat'ning yoke, 
And hear it said by every Indian tribe, 
I forged the fetters for myself and them ? 
Shall I leave Porus, and betray those chiefs 
Met to defend the freedom of our realms. 
Who without hesitation have declared 
Their brave resolve to live or die like kings ? 
See you a single one of them so cow'd 
At Alexander's name, that he forgets 
To fight, and begs to be enrolled his slave. 

68 kagine's wobks. [act i. 

As of th' acknowledg'd master of the world ? 
So far from being daunted at his fame, 
They will attack him e'en in Victory's lap. 
And would you, sister, have me crave his help 
Whom I to-day am ready to withstand ? 


Nay, is it not to you this prince appeals. 
Sues for your friendship, and for yours alone. 
And, ready to discharge his lightning flash. 
Makes secret efforts to protect your head ? 


Why should he spare his wrath for me alone ? 
Of all Hydaspes arms against him, how 
Have I deserved a pity that insults ? 
Why not to Porus make these overtures ? 
Doubtless he deems him too magnanimous 
To heed an offer that is fraught with shame. 
And, seeking virtue of less stubborn mould, 
Thinks me, forsooth, more worthy of his care. 


Say not he thmks to find in you a slave. 

But deems you bravest of his enemies. 

And hopes that, may he but disarm your hand. 

His triumph o'er the rest will be secured. 

His choice does no discredit to your name, 

He offers friendship cowards may not share. 

Tho' he would fain see all the world submit 

To him, he wants no slave among his friends. 

Ah, if his friendship can your glory soil, 

You spared me not a stain of deeper dye. 

You know his daily services to me, 

Why did you ne'er attempt to check their course ? 

You see me now the mistress of his heart, 

A hundred secret missives make me sure 

Of his devotion, and to reach me come 

His ardent sighs across two hostile camps. 

Instead of urging hatred and disdain, 


You oft have blamed me for severity ; 

You led me on to listen to his suit, 

Aj, and perchance to love him in my turn. 


You have no need to blush that charms so rare 

Have forced that mighty warrior to succumb, 

Nor should it cause alarm that he whose pow'r 

Has dried Euphrates, can disarm your heart. 

But with my destiny our country's fate 

Is link'd, and it must follow as I lead ; 

And tho' you fain would turn me from the task, 

I must be free to guard her liberties. 

T know how this my purpose gives you pain. 

But I, like you, follow the stsix of love. 

Fair Axiana's danger-darting eyes, 

Against your Alexander aim their shafts ; 

Queen of all hearts, she bids her subjects arm 

For freedom, which her charms alone must bind ; 

She hears with shame threats of captivity. 

Nor brooks another tyrant than herself. 

Her wrath, my sister, must command my sword. 

And I must go. 


Ah, well, destroy yourself 
To please her ; what tho' fatal the decree. 
Obey so dear a despot if you will. 
Or rather let your rival reap youy bays. 
Go fight for Porus, Axiana calls, 
Secure for him the empire of her heart. 
For your best valour will not make her bend. 


Think you that Porus, sister — 


Can you doubt. 
Yourself, that Axiana loves him ? What ! 
Can you not see how eager is her praise. 


70 bacinb's works. [act I. 

As slie parades his deeds before yoTir eyes ? 

Tho' others may be brave, round him alone. 

Believe me, victory's pinions seem to wave ; 

WithV)ut his sanction vain your wisest plans. 

Only with him rests India's liberty ; 

Had he not interposed, our walls ere now 

Had sunk in ashes, he alone can stop 

The conqueror's march ; this charming prince she makes 

Her god, and, tho' you doubt it, fain would make 

Her lover ! 


I have tried to doubt it ; ah. 
Be not so cruel as to blast all hope, 
Nor paint a picture that I hate to see. 
Nay, help me rather to be blind, confirm 
My pleasing error. Pride befits the fair ; 
Tell me she treats all others e'en as me, 
And save me from despair. 


With my consent 
Hope still, but nothing more expect from sighs 
Too weak to move her. Why in battle seek 
A conquest Alexander offers you 
Himself ? 'Tis not with him you have to cope. 
But Porus, who would wrest a prize so fair. 
Fame, too unjust to others' merit, vaunts 
His exploits, none but his, forgets the rest ; 
Whate'er is done, he the sole credit claims, 
And leads you like his subjects to the field. 
Ah, if that title has a pleasing sound. 
Why not with Greeks and Persians range yourself 
Beneath a worthier lord ? A hundred kings 
Will share your bonds ; Porus himself will come. 
Yea, the whole world. But Alexander keeps 
No chains for you. He leaves upon your brow 
The crown a haughty rival dares disdain. 
*Tis Porus and not he makes you a slave ; 
Be not his victim, when 'tis in your pow'r — 
But look, here comes your generous rival. 




My sister, how my heart beats an alarm, 
And tells me, as I look, that he is loved ! 


Time presses. Fare you well. With you it lies 
To be his slave, or Alexander's friend. 

Scene 2. 
PoETJs, Taxiles. 


Sir, I am much deceived, or our proud foes 

Will make less progress than they reckon'd on. 

Impatient of delay, our gallant troops 

Show resolution stamp'd upon their brows, 

Strengthen each other's hearts, and none too young 

To promise to himself victorious bays. 

From rank to rank the martial ardour spreads. 

And eager cries have burst upon mine ears, 

Comphoning that they cannot prove their zeal, 

But waste their vigour in an idle camp. 

Shall we allow such courage to be lost ? 

Our wily foe knows where advantage lies ; 

Feeling himself still weak, to hold us back 

He sends Hephsestion hither, who demands 

A parley, that by idle words — 


'Tis fit 
To hear him. Sir; we know not yet what terms 
Are ofPer'd ; Alexander may wish peace. 


Peace ! Would you then accept it at his hands ? 
Have we not seen him with repeated blows 

72 bacike's works. [act i. 

Disturb the happy calm we erst enjoy'd, 
And, sword in hand, enter these realms of ours, 
AttacMng kings who ne'er offended him ? 
Have we not seen him laying countries waste. 
Our rivers swollen with our subjects' blood ? 
Yet when the gods have placed him in our pow'r. 
Am I to wait until the tyrant deigns 
To pardon ? 


Say not Heav'n forsakes his cause ; 
With constant care it still defends his head 
A monarch at whose nod so many states 
Tremble is not a foe for kings to scorn. 


I scorn him not, his courage I admire, 

And to his prowess render due respect ; 

But I too am ambitious to deserve 

The tribute which his merits force from me. 

Let Alexander be upraised to Heav'n, 

Yet will I pluck him thence, if so I may ; 

The altars which men's trembling hands have rear'd 

To this terrestrial god, will I attack. 

E'en thus did Alexander treat those kings 

Whose provinces now own his greater sway : 

If when he enter'd Asia he had quail'd, 

Darius would not with his parting breath 

Have hail'd him king. 


Sir, had Darius known 
How weak he was, he would be reigning now 
Where reigns another. But his fatal pride 
Was better founded than your present scorn. 
The fame of Alexander had not yet 
Burst like the lightning from behind the clouds ; 
Darius ne'er had heard his name before. 
And calmly dream'd of easy victory. 
He knew him soon, and all amazed beheld 
His countless hosts scatter'd like chaff, himself 


Cru8h'd to the earth by a victorious arm ; 
The lightning, as it fell, unseal'd his eyes. 


What price too, think you, shall one have to pay 
For swallowing this bait of shameful peace ? 
A hundred different tribes can tell you, Sir, 
How, grossly cheated, peace for them meant chains. 
Be not deceived, his smiles are treacherous ; 
His proffered friendship leads to slavery 
For ever ; no half -service will avail. 
Submit to bondage, or remain his foe. 


To turn from rashness is not cowardice ; 
A harmless homage may be all he claims. 
With flattering words soothe this ambitious prince. 
Till lust of conquest summon him elsewhere ; 
For like a mountain torrent he sweeps by, 
And overwhelms all that arrests his course ; 
Gorged with the wrecks of many multitudes, 
The roar of mighty waters fills the world. 
What boots it to let surly pride provoke 
His wrath ? With favorable welcome hail 
His march, and waive those rights we may resume 
Hereafter, nor refuse what costs us nought. 


What costs us nought ! Dare you believe it, Sir ? 
And shall I count as nothing honour lost ? 
The coward's brand is far too dear a price 
At which we may redeem our diadems ! 
But think you that a prince so bold and proud 
Can pass this way and leave no trace behind ? 
How many monarchs, wreck'd upon this reef, 
Betain their titles but to please his pride ! 
Should we once crouch, his vassals, we should find 
Our crowns no more sit firmly on our heads : 
Should we displease him, from our nerveless hands 
Would drop our sceptres at his slightest breath. 

74 bacine's wobks. [act i. 

Say not, he inarches on from land to land, 
And leaves them as they were ; the knots he ties 
Bind princes fast ; and of ttimes in the dust 
He seeks fit instruments to govern slaves. 
But such mean cares touch not my firm resolve, 
Your interest alone inspires my words : 
Porus declines to treat of terms of peace, 
When Glory speaks no other voice he hears. 


I hear what Honour bids as well as you, 
To save my country is what she commands. 


Save her and honour too. This day forestall 
Th' invader, let us march to meet his arms. 


Contempt and Eashness are unfaithful guides. 


Shame follows hard upon a timid soul. 


Kings who can save their subjects earn their love. 


But honour'd more when they know how to reign. 


Such counsel finds response from pride alone. 


Yet kings will heed it, ay, and queens, perchance. 


The queen has eyes, it seems, for none but you. 



A slaTO she marks with anger and contempt. 


But think you, sir, 'tis Love that would expose 
Her people and herself along with yon ? 
Nay, tell yourself the naked truth, confess 
Your guiding Hght is Hatred and not Love. 


I readily will own that righteous wrath 
Makes me love war as much as you love peace» 
That burning with a noble fire I go 
To measure swords 'gainst Alexander's pride. 
The praises of his valour vex my soul. 
Which long has panted for this happy day. 
Ere he was on my track my spirit rose 
Kesentful, and in secret hated him. 
With keen impatience and fierce jealousy, 
I thought his near approach too long delay'd^ 
And drew him hither with such warm desire 
As made me wish myself on Persian soil 
To meet him sooner. Should he balk me now^ 
And seek to leave these regions, then would I 
Dispute in arms his passage, and refuse 
The peace he condescends to offer us. 


So high a spirit and so firm a heart 
Augur a glorious place in History's page ; 
And should you smk beneath the bold attempt, 
Your fall at least will thro' the world resound. 
Farewell. The queen draws near. Display that zeal. 
That pride which makes your merit in her eyes. 
My presence would disturb your interview, 
And my faint-hearted prudence raise a blush. 

76 sacinb's wobks. [act i. 

Scene 3. 


What ! Taxiles avoids me ! Why is this ? — 


Ah, he does well to hide from you his shame : 
No longer daring to encounter risk, 
How could he bear to look you in the face ? 
But let us leave him, madam, to his choice ; 
He and his sister go to pay their vows 
To Alexander. Let us leave a camp 
Where Taxiles, with incense in his hand. 
Awaits his sovereign. 


But what says he, Sir ? 


Betrays too much. Already does this slave 
Boast of the bondage he would have me share. 


Be not so passionate, and let me try 
To stop him. Tho' discouraged, his warm sighs 
Assure me of his love. Howe'er that be. 
Let me try speech with him again, nor force 
That purpose into action by your scorn 
Which hardly can be fix'd. 


What ! Doubt you that ? 
And will you trust a faithless lover's heart 
Who to a tyrant means, this very day, 
To give you up, thinking thereby to win 
Your hand from him ? Well, if you will, assist 


Your own betrayal. He may seize the priee 
I deem'd my own, but still it shall be mine 
To fight and die for you ; this glory mocks 
His jealous efforts. 


Think you then, my love 
Shall be the meed of insolence so base, 
And that my heart, submitting to his sway, 
Could e'er consent to be disposed of thus ? 
Can you impute such crime without a blush ? 
When have I shown him partiality ? 
Were I to choose 'tween Taxiles and you. 
How can you think that I could hesitate ? 
Know I not well how his unstable soul 
Is sway'd alternately by love and fear ? 
And were it not for me, his timid heart 
Would soon be vanquished by his sister's wiles. 
Made Alexander's captive, as you know, 
She afterwards retum'd to Taxiles ; 
But soon I found she meant to fasten him 
In the same trap which had ensnared her heart. 


And can you live beside her after that ? 
Why not abandon her to guilt and crime ? 
Why be so anxious now to spare a prince — 


For your sake I would win him. Shall I see 

You overwhelm'd with care for our defence. 

And left alone t* attack so strong a foe ? 

I would have Taxiles combine his arms 

With yours, in spite of all his sister's plots. 

Would that your zeal could spare some thought for me ! 

But such considerations are too mean 

To move you. So that you may nobly fall, 

You little care what follows, nor provide 

Eefuge for me from Alexander's wrath, 

Or from your rival's love, who, treating me 

Soon as his humble captive, will demand 

78 RXClST^a W0BE8. 


Mj heart and hand as purchased by jour blood. 

Well, go, my lord, fulfil your eager wish, 

Think only of the conflict^ and forget 

To guard your life, forget how Heav'n had smooth'd 

The way that might have led to happiness. 

It may be Axiana in her turn 

Was well disposed to go. 

But nay, depart 
To lead your army, we have talk'd too long, 
And you are weary of detainment here 


Stay, Madam I see how earnest is my flame : 

Order my life, and make my soul your own ; 

Glory, I own it, has much influence there, 

But what can charms so matchless not perform ? 

I will forget what plans we form'd to join 

Our forces to risk all against the foe ; 

That Porus deem'd it happiness supreme. 

Alone to triumph in his rival* s eyes. 

I say no more. Proclaim your sovereign will ; 

And Fame and Hatred both shall bow to you. 

Fear nought ; the heart which will so well obey. 

Is not in hands that can betray their trust : 

Its glory is too much my care to wish 

To stop a hero bent on victory. 

Hasten your steps to meet the enemy, 

But do not part yourself from your allies : 

Control them gently ; and with tranquil.mind 

licave me to try my skill on Taxiles ; 

Let milder sentiments towards him prevail, 

I undertake to make him fight for you. 


Well, go then. Madam; I consent with joy : 
And let us see Hephsestion since wo must, 
But without losing hope of following close, 
I wait Hephsestion — ^then the battle-field. 


ACT n. 

Scene 1. 


Yes, while your kings together hold debate^ 

TJntil the council meets, lady, let me 

Tell you what secret reasons bring me here. 

I, as the friend to whom my lord confides 

The flame which your eyes kindled, would to them 

Beveal it, and entreat you to extend 

To him the peace which he would grant jour kings. 

After so many sighs, what may he hope r 

Your brother gives consent, yet you delay. 

Why let your lover, doubtful and perplex'd. 

His heart ne'er offer but with constant dread 

Of vour refusal ? Must he at your feet 

Lay aU the world that's left ? 

Give peace ? Make war P 
Which shall it be ? Command ! 

His feet will run. 
By conquest or by merit to prevail. 


May I believe a prince of fame so high 

Still keeps the memory of my feeble charms ? 

That he who makes Terror and Victory 

His followers should condescend to sigh 

For me ? Such captives break their chain full soon ; 

To grandest projects Glory leads them on, 

And Love within their breasts, hindered and crush'd 

Is 'neath a weight of laurels soon overwhelmed. 

So long as I his prisoner remain'd, 

I might have made some slight impression there ; 

But, Sir, I fancy when he loosed my bonds 

The hero in his turn soon burst his own. 


80 bagike's works. [^ct ii. 


Ab, had you seen him chafing at delays, 
Counting the days that kept you from his sight. 
Love, you would own, was urging on his steps : 
He rush'd to battle but in search of you, 
'Tis you who lead the conqueror of kings 
Thus thro' your provinces to march in haste, 
And rend, upon his way, 'neath his strong arm 
All obstacles that hinder his approach. 
Now on the self-same plain our banners wave 
With yours ; he views your ramparts from his own ; 
But after all his exploits, fear subdues 
The victor's heart lest it should still be far 
From yours. His rapid strides from land to land 
Have served him nought, if you against him bar 
That heart, and daily doubt his constancy 
T' excuse the harshness that makes no response 
To faithful vows : with weapons of distrust 
Your mind — 


Alas, how weak the best defence 
Against such doubts ! Our hearts we vainly vex 
With reasons to suspect what most they wish. 
Would your lord read the secret of my soul ? 
*Tis with delight I hear how miich he loves ; 
I fear'd that time had made his passion ebb ; 
I fain would have his heart, and that for aye. 
I will say more : When he our frontier forced^ 
And within Omphis took me prisoner. 
When I beheld him master of the world, 
To be his captive seem'd a privilege, 
And far from murmuring against my fate, 
Its sweetness grew with custom, I will own, 
Till freedom was a memory erased, 
Eecovery of which I claim'd, yet fear'd. 
Think how I must rejoice at his return. 
But would he have me see him blood besprent ? 
Comes he to show himself an enemy ? 
Is't not for torture that he seeks me out? 



No, Madam ; vanquisli'd by your potent charms, 

He vails the terrors of his flashing sword, 

He offers peace to kings whose eyes are blind, 

The hand that could have crushed them he withdraws. 

He fears lest victory — too easy prize — 

Might point his weapon to your brother's breast : 

His courage shrinks from causing you a pang, 

Nor covets laurels sprinkled with your tears. 

Prosper the anxious care his love inspires ; 

Save him from winning sorrowful success, 

And influence monarchs whom his mercy spares 

T' accept a boon they owe to you alone. 


Ah, doubt it not, my agitated soul 
With just alarm is ceaselessly distressed ; 
I tremble for my brother, lest his blood 
Should stain the hand of enemy so dear ; 
But vainly I oppose his fiery zeal, 
Porus and Axiana rule his soul ; 
A king's example and a queen's bright eyes 
Eise up a^inst me when I try to speak. 
When harass'd thus, what have I not to dread I 
I fear for him, — for Alexander too. 
I know he has destroy'd a hundred kings 
Who dared defy him ; well his feats I know. 
But I know Porus, under whose coinmand 
Our people have repulsed and triumph'd o'er 
Scythian and Mede, and, proud of former bays. 
Will follow him to victory or death. 
I fear — 


Nay, harbour not a fear so vain ; 
Let Porus rush whither disaster leads. 
Let India in his cause arm all her States, 
And let your brother only hold aloof. 
But here they come. 

82 bacinb's wobks. [act ii. 


Accomplish your good work ; 
Your wisdom may disperse these angry clouds. 
Or, if the storm must burst, be this your care, 
To make it fall on other heads than ours. 

Scene 2. 
PoRUS, Taxiles, Hepksstion. 


Ere the fierce conflict that looms threateningly 

Adds to our many conquests all your States, 

My lord is willing to suspend his stroke. 

And for the last time offers terms of peace. 

Your people, prepossessed with flattering hopes. 

The victor of Euphrates thought to stay : 

In spite of all your squadrons scattered wide, 

Hydaspes sees at length our standards float 

Along his banks, which o'er your trenches soon 

Would stand, while native blood your fields bedew'd, 

Did not our hero, crown'd with other bays. 

Himself the ardour of his warriors check. 

He comes not hither stain'd with princely gore, 

By barbarous triumph to affright these realms. 

And, from your ruin reaping bright renown, 

O'er your kings' tombs victorious trophies raise : 

But be not ye yourselves deceived by hope 

Illusive, nor provoke your own defeat. 

Ere his resistless hand descends in wrath. 

Delay no longer, you have done enough 

Already in withholding homage due. 

Such as your hearts must own his valour claims : 

Welcome the firm support his arm affords. 

And honour the Protector of your States. 

Such is the message he is pleased to send, 

Eeady to drop the sword or take it up. 

You know his purpose, make your choice this day. 

To lose your crowns, or hold them as from him. 



Sir, think not that a rude and sullen pride 

Forbids us such rare virtue to respect, 

And that our people with presumptuous zeal 

Will be your enemies in spite of you. 

We render to true greatness all that's meet ; 

Ye worship gods that owe to us their fanes ; 

Heroes who pass'd with you for mortal men 

Have met with votive altars among us. 

But vain would be th' attempt to make our tribes 

Change their free worship into slavery. 

Trust me, tho* glory moves them to adore, 

No incense will they offer on constraint. 

How many other States subdued by you 

Have seen their sov'reigns bend beneath the yoke ? 

After all these, is it not time enough 

That Alexander should look out for friends ? 

These captives, trembling at their master's name. 

But ill support a pow'r so newly bom ; 

They have their eyes open to every chance 

Of freedom ; your dominions all are full 

Of hidden foes. They weep their kings discrown'd. 

In secret ; and your chains, too widely stretch'd, 

Orow slack ; the Scythians, mutinous at heart 

Already, soon will burst the bonds to which 

You destine us. Try, taking for a pledge 

Our friendship, whether faith no oath constrains 

Oan bind us. Leave a people free who know 

How freely to applaud your famous deeds. 

I take your master's friendship on these terms, 

And I await him as a monarch may 

A hero on whose steps glory attends. 

Who wins my heart, but cannot touch my throne. 


I thought when gathering his provinces 
Hydaspes saw us flocking to protect 
His banks from outrage, that for task so great 
There came no kings with me but such as were 
The foes of tyrants, but since one is found 

84 bacine's works. [act ii. 

To lick the hand that threatens, and to court 
His own disgrace, in league with Macedon, 
It rests with me to speak for those whose trust 
Has been betray'd by him, and in the name 
Of India make reply. 

Why comes he here, 
The King who sends you ? Do we need the aid 
He offers ? With what countenance can he 
Presume to shelter those who have no foe 
Save him alone ? Ere he laid waste the world 
In fury, India rested in repose. 
Or if some neighbour State ruffled her calm. 
She had no lack of children to defend 
Her honour well. What means this fierce attack ? 
What barbarous deed has roused your master's wrath ? 
Did e'er a force of ours his realms invade. 
And ravage ruthlessly those lands unknown ? 
So many countries, deserts, rivers lie 
Between him and ourselves, as well might bar 
All access. E'en on Earth's remotest verge 
Can none escape the knowledge of his name 
And galling chains ? Strange valour must be his. 
That only seeks to injure, and consumes 
All that its fires approach, owning no rule 
But proud disdain. He fain woiild make the world 
One prison, all, as many as we are 
Of human kind, slaves whom his foot may crush ! 
More lands, more kings ! His sacrilegious hands 
Eange all men under the same iron yoke. 
Already he devours us in his greed : 
Of sovereigns once so many we alone 
Are left to reign. What say I ? We alone ! 
Nay, only I, in whom there yet remain 
The traces of a King. But at that thought 
My courage rises, and well pleased I see 
This wide world shake, that by my arm alone 
Its freedom may be stablish'd, if at all ; 
And that with peace restored, all men may say : — 
** G-reat Alexander would have tamed the world, 
Had he not met on Earth's extremest bounds, 
A king who broke her chains, and set her free." 



Your resolution shows at least a heart 
Valiant, but 'tis too late t' oppose the storm. 
With "no support but yours, this tottering globe, 
As well as you yourself, must pity claim. 
I will not try to hold you back, march on 
Against my master, only I could wish 
You knew him better, and that Fame had told 
At least the half of his achievements. You 
Would see — 


What should I see, what could I learn, 
To make me fall at Alexander's feet ? 
Persia without an effort brought beneath 
His yoke ? Your arms weary with shedding blood ? 
What glory was it to subdue a king 
Nerveless, already by soft ease enthralled ; 
To quell a nation sapless and inert, 
Whose golden harness made them sweat and groan. 
Who made no stand, but prostrate fell in crowds. 
Till corpses only block'd your master's way ? 
Dazed with his least exploits, all other tribes 
Came humbly on their knees to beg for terms. 
And, giving heed to oracles of fear. 
Thought it were impious to resist a god. 
But we, who conquerors scan with other eyes. 
Know well that tyrants are no deities ; 
So that, however slaves may flatter him. 
We deem the Son of Jupiter a man. 
We go not forth to strew his path with flow'rs. 
And everywhere he finds us arms in hand. 
He sees his conquests stopp'd each step he takes ; 
Here does a single rock cost him more lives, 
More trouble, more assaults, almost more time 
Than all the strength of Persia's serried hosts. 
The ease that was her ruin is to us 
Hateful, our native gold did ne'er corrupt 
Our courage. Only glory tempts our hearts, 
The sole possession I dispute with him. 
'Tis that alone — 

86 bacine's wobki^. [act ii. 


Which Alexander seeks. 
To lower gains his soul is loath to stoop ; 
No other aim led him to leave his realms, 
And to the throne of Cyrus brought his steps. 
Shook the firm pillars of that mighty State, 
Arm'd his attack, laid victory and crowns 
At his disposal. Since your pride rejects 
The proffer'd pardon glory does not grudge. 
Your eyes, the witnesses of his success, 
Shall, this day forth, see how he fights for fame. 
And, sword in hand, marches to victory. 


Go then : and I will meet him ere he come. 

Scene 3. , 
PoRUs, Taziles. 


What ! so impatient ! Will you then — 


Not so. 
With your alliance will I meddle not. 
Hephsestion, bitter only against me. 
Of your submission will inform his king. 
The troops of Axiana, bound to me, 
Await the conflict, ranged beneath my flag, 
The honour of her throne will I support, 
As of my own, and you shall judge the fray. 
Let not your heart however, in its zeal 
For your new friends, kindle fresh flames of strife. 


Scene 4. 


Ah ! what is this thej say of you ? Our foes 
Make it their boast that Taxiles submits. 
At least at heart, nor marches 'gainst a king 
Whom he respects. 


The word of enemies 
Is hardly to be trusted ; time will teach 
A better knowledge. 


Sir, then give the lie 
To this insulting rumour, and confound 
Those who have uttered it. Like Porus go, 
Force them to silence ; let them feel your wrath. 
And learn they have no deadlier foe than you. 


Madam, I go my army to array. 

Heed less these rumours that alarm you so : 

Porus performs his duty ; so will I. 

Scene 5. 


That cold and sullen brow gives me no clue. 
His craven bearing looks not that of king 
Marching to victory, whom 1 can trust. 
We may not longer doubt we are betray'd : 
He to his sister sacrifices name 
And country. In his hatred he desires 

88 bacike's wobks. [act ii. 

Our downfall, and but waits the battle hour 
To show it. 


Losing him, I lose a prop 
Unstable ; I have known him far too well 
To count on his support. These eyes have seen 
His doubts, unmoved, dreading his feeble arm 
Much more if raised for us. A traitor fled. 
To please his sister, weakens us much less 
Than cowardly resistance. 


Be not rash ; 
Your valour reckons not th' invading hosts ; 
Almost alone, hast'ning to meet his strokes, 
Tou but oppose yourself to countless foes. 


What ! would you have me prove a traitor too, 

And, out of terror, give you up for slaves ? 

That I should stay within my camp confined. 

And, after giving challenge, shirk the fight ? 

Nay, Madam, I believe it not, but know 

Too well that soul where glory's fire bums high. 

Can I forget whose were the potest charms 

That roused our princes all, and drew them on 

To battle ? Whose high spirit scom'd to yield. 

And none but Alexander's conqueror- 

Would love ? That task be mine, whereto I haste 

Less to avoid his chains than merit yours. 

Madam, I go, ambitious to deserve 

Bondage so sweet, to conquer or to die ; 

And, since my sighs appeal without avail 

To one whose heart glory alone can sway, 

I will go forth to win a victory 

That shall attach such honour to my name, 

As may from love of valour lead your heart, 

Perchance, to love the victor. 



Gk), my lord. 
It may be in the camp of Taxiles 
There will be found men braver than himself ; 
To rouse them I will make a last essay, 
Thereafter share your fortune in your camp. 
Seek not to know the secrets of my heart ; 
Live, and enjoy a triumph. 


This delay 
Is needless, Madam. Why not tell me now 
If my entreaties move you ? Can your heart 
Suffer a hapless prince, whose cruel fate 
Perhaps condemns him ne'er to see again 
The idol of his soul, to die without 
The proud assurance of a destiny 
So great ? 


What can I say ? 


Queen of my soul. 
If any tenderness you felt for me, 
That heart, which gives me promise of renown 
To be this day achieved, might promise more, 
A little love. Can it defend itself 
Against such sighs ? Can it — 


March forth to meet 
Th' invader. Victory is yours, if he 
Resist no better than this heart of mine. 


90 kaoine's works. [act hi. 


Scene 1. 


How is this, Madam ? Am I prisoner here ? 
Forbidden to behold my army march 
To battle ? Is 't with me that Taxiles 
Begins his treason thus, in his own camp 
Holding me captive ? This then is the fruit 
Of all his sighs ! My humble worshipper 
Become my master ; and, already tired 
Of my disdain, despairing of the heart 
He binds the limbs ! 


Nay, but you construe ill 
The just alarm of one who ne'er succumb'd 
Save to your charms. View with a kinder eye 
The zeal which makes your safety its concern. 
While round us now two mighty armies, stirr'd 
With equal ardour for the bloody fray. 
Make everywhere the sparks of fury fly. 
In what direction would you guide your steps ? 
Where could you find a shelter from the storm 
But here, where all is calm and life is safe ? 
Like tranquil port — 


'Tis that tranquillity 
With its degrading safety I resent. 
What ! When my subjects, fighting for their queen, 
And led by Porus, fall upon the plain. 
Sealing their faithful service with their blood. 
When I can almost hear their dying cries, 
They prate to me of peace, and in his camp 
Your brother keeps a posture of repose 


Amid the tumult, and insults mj grief, 
Directing my sad eyes to sights of joy ! 


Would you then, Madam, that my brother's love 
Should leave in danger's jaws a life so dear ? 
He knows too well the hazard — 


And to turn 
My steps therefrom, this generous lover makes 
His camp my prison ; whilst his rival risks 
Life for my sake, his valour is content 
To act the gaoler ! 


Happy Porus ! How 
The shortest absence from him tries you sore 
With such impatience that you needs must search 
The field of battle to discover him ! 


I would do more ; yea, even to the tomb 
Would follow him with ardour and with pride. 
Lose all my realms, and see with eyes unmoved 
The victor pay therewith Cleophila 
For entrance to her heart ! 


You need not go, 
If you seek Porus. Soon will he be brought 
Hither a captive. Let us guard for him 
So fair a conquest that his love has made. 


Already does your heart in triumph fly 
To Alexander, and his victory hail. 
But, trusting to the flattering hopes of love. 
Your boasts may prove a little premature ; 
You press your eager wishes somewhat far. 

92 eacinb's works. [act hi. 

And count too soon upon your heart's desire : 



Now my brother comes, and we shall learn 
Whose the mistake has been. 


No room for doubt 
Longer remains ; that brow so satisfied 
Has the defeat of Poms written there. 

Scene 2. 
Taxiles, Axiana, Cleophila. 


Madam, had Porus been less choleric, 
And foUow'd the good counsel of a friend. 
He might indeed have spared my present pain 
In coming to announce his fate myself. 


Is Porus — 


All is over : and deceived 
By valour, he is taken in the toils 
Of which I warn'd him ! 'Twas not that his arm, 
(For to a fallen rival I'll be just,) 
Fail'd to dispute the victory right well, 
Making his foes pay dearly with their blood : 
Glory, attracted by his brilliant feats, 
'Tween him and Alexander for a while 
Waver'd. But, in his anger against me. 
At last he charged too hotly, and I saw 
His troops disorder'd, broken, turn'd to flight, 
Your soldiers routed, and his own dispersed ; 
Saw finally himself carried along 
With them, in their endeavours to escape ; 



Too late of vain resentment disabused, 
He long'd for succour he refused before. 


Eefused ! What then ? Your patriotic pride 
Waits till entreaties rouse its energies ! 
Against your will you must be forced to fight, 
Else -will you stir not e'en to save your realms ! 
But to return to Porus — did he not 
Speak by example with commanding voice ? 
Could not his risk put courage in your heart, 
The danger of your mistress, and the State 
Eeady to perish ? Go, you serve full well 
The master giv'n you by your sister ! Do 
Whate'er her spite dictates ! Treat all alike, 
And let your mistress share your rival's chains ! 
So well you've work'd, your crime and his defeat 
Have placed that noble hero in my heart. 
To be adored. Ere this day ends, I wish 
To make my love and hatred manifest. 
Before your face to pledge myself to him, 
And in his presence swear immortal hate 
For you. Farewell, and love me if you will. 
Now that you know me. 


Think not that my vows 
Are faithless. Look for neither threats nor chains ; 
Better does Alexander know what's due 
To queens. Allow his kindness a free scope, 
And keep a throne Porus should ne'er have placed 
In peril. At all hazards I myself 
Would wage fierce battle with the hand that touch'd 
Object so sacred. 


What ! my sceptre then, 
Giv'n by a foe, must be upheld by you ! 
Shall the same tyrant set me on my throne. 
Who came to drive me from it ? 

94 bacine's wobks. [act hi. 


Kings and queens, 
When fallen low before his conquering sword, 
Have let his generous kindness soothe their woes. 
The wife and mother of Darius see, 
How like a brother does he treat the one, 
Like son the other ! 


Nay, I cannot sell 
My friendship, flatter tyrants, owe my crown 
To pity. Persia's women are too weak 
For me to copy. Think you I will haunt 
My victor's court, follow him thro' the world, 
And boast how light the chains he makes me wear? 
If he gives crowns, let him give ours to you. 
And deck you, if he will, with borrow' d plumes ; 
J^or Porus, nor myself, will grudge you these. 
And you will be a slave much more than we. 
I hope that Alexander's pride, ere long, 
Vex'd that your crime should stain his victory, 
Will by your execution clear himself. 
Knaves such as you oft play the traitor twice. 
Let not his present favours dazzle you ; 
Look you how Bessus suffer'd, faithless found. 

Scene 3. 
Cleophila, Taxiles. 


You may indulge her in this fury : 
Time and the Conqueror's pleasure will conspire 
For your success. Her rage, say what she may. 
Will not for long refuse to mount a throne. 
The master of her fortunes, you will be 
Lord of her heart. But tell me, have you seen 
The Victor ? For what treatment may we look j 

From him ? What said he ? 



Sister, I hare seen 
Your Alexander. Such a youthful grace 
Met my first glance, as seem'd to faLsif j 
The number of his feats ; my thoughts, I own, 
Dared not connect such great renown with one 
So young ; but on that brow heroic pride 
Was stamp'd ; his fiery eye and noble port 
Told me 'twas Alexander, for his face 
Infallibly proclaims how great his soul ; 
And, with a presence that supports his claims, 
His eye is no less potent to command 
Than is his arm. His glory dazzled me, 
Fresh from the field ; and in his smile I read 
Success. On seeing me, his pride forgot, 
He made his goodness evident instead. 
The triumph of the victor could not hide 
The lover's tenderness. " Return," he said, 
" Prepare your sister's lovely ey^s to see 
A conqueror who lays his victory 
And heart before her feet." 

He follows close. 
No more. I leave you mistress of your fate, 
To you entrust the conduct of my own. 


K I have pow'r, you shall keep yours intact. 
All shall obey you, if the Conqueror's ear 
Be mine. 


I go then. See, he comes himself. 

Scene 4. 
Alexandeb, Taxiles, Cleophila, Hephastion. 


Go, my Hephsestion. Porus must be found ; 
Take him alive, and spare the vanquish'd all. 

96 eacinb's works. [act hi. 

Scene 5. 
Alexander, Taxiles, Oleophila. 


Is it then true, Sir, a misguided queen 

Prefers the valour of a headstrong king 

To you ? But fear him not, his realms are yours ; 

You have a prize to offer that may sway 

Her passion. Sovereign of two kingdoms, hers 

Is in your hands. Go, with your vows present 

Three crowns. 


You are too generous. 'Tis too much, 


At leisure you may thank me for my care. 
Go where Love calls you now ; nay, linger not ; 
And let the palm of victory crown your flame. 

Scene 6. 
Alexander, Cleophila. 


Madam, his love shall have my firm support. 

May I have nought, who can do all for him ? 

So lavish of the fruits of victory 

Tow'rd him, shall I have nothing for myself. 

But barren fame ? Sceptres restored or giv'n 

Into your hands, friends crown'd with mine own bays. 

The honours I have won rain'd on their heads. 

All show to other conquests I aspire. 

Did I not promise you my strong right arm 

Should soon to your sweet presence bring me nigh ? 

Forget not, Madam, that you promised then 

To me a place within your heart. I come. 


The pow'r of Love has fought on my behalf, 

And Victory has herself redeemed my word. 

When all around you see subdued, 'tis time 

To yield yourself. Say, would your heart withdraw 

The pledge it gave ? Can it alone escape 

The Conqueror of to-day, who seeks but that ? 


My heart is not so stem as to remain 
Invincible, when all else owns your will. 
I pay due honour to the glorious strength 
That holds a hundred nations at your feet. 
To conquer India was your easiest task ; 
The firmest courage you inspire with dread. 
And, when you will, your kindness in its turn 
Will touch with gratitude the hardest hearts. 
But ah, my lord, that valour and that grace 
Oft wake within me trouble and alarm ; 
I fear lest you, contented to have gain'd 
My heart, should leave it in distress to pine, 
That, heedless of the passion you aroused. 
Your soul should scorn conquest so lightly won. 
Love lasts not long with heroes like yourself. 
But glory ever has transporting charms ; 
And, 'mid your amorous sighs, it well may be 
To conquer still is all that you desire. 


How little can you know the ardent love 
That wings those sighs with which I turn to you ! 
At other times, I own, amidst my troops. 
My heart has panted only for renown ; 
Peoples and kmgs, subdued beneath my sway. 
Alone seem'd worthy objects of concern. 
Persia's fair dames, presented to my sight, 
No better than her kings could vanquish me ; 
My heart, arm'd with disdain against their shafts, 
Eefused to render homage to their charms ; 
Invincible, 'twas glory it adored ; 


98 bacine's works. [act hi. 

To Love insensible, it deem'd its loss 
Felicity, till your dear tyrant eyes 
Inflicted a new wound within my heart. 
The pride of victory is its aim no more. 
But glad it is to boast its own defeat ; 
Blest if your eyes, melting in tenderness, 
Own in their turn the conquest they have won ! 
Why will you always doubt their victory, 
Always reproach me with my warrior bays, 
As tho' the pleasing fetters you impose 
Were f orm'd to bind none but ignoble souls ? 
On strange new exploits I am bent, to show 
The pow*r of Love on Alexander's heart. 
This arm of mine, pledged to your service now, 
Has to maintain your honour with my own ; 
The trump of Fame shall tell in martial notes 
Of nations to our world as yet unknown, 
And there to you shall altars rise, where none 
Are raised by savage hands to gods themselves. 


Yes, thither Victory will follow you, 

Your captive, but I have my doubts if Love 

Will do the same. So many seas between 

May wash my image from your memory. 

When Ocean bears you on his stormy waves, 

The whole world vanquished, — when that day arrives, 

When you shall see aU monarchs at your knees 

Lie prostrate, and Earth, trembling, hold her peace 

Before you, wiU you think how a young Queen 

Unceasingly regrets you, in the heart 

Of her far distant realms, and calls to mind 

How sweetly you assured her of your love ? 


What ! . Think you then that, cruel to myself 
I can abandon here so lare a prize 
Of beauty ? Or will you yourself refuse 
The throne of Asia that I offer you ? 



My lord, you know that on my brother's will 
My own depends. 


Ah ! if my happiness 
Is in his hands, all India, to his nod 
Submissive, soon for me shall intercede. 


My love for him is free from selfish taint. 
Soothe, I implore you, an offended Queen ; 
Nor let a rival who this day has braved 
Your anger, prove more fortunate than he. 


A noble rival Porus was, indeed ; 

Never such valour won my high regard. 

I saw him where the battle raged ; we met ; 

Nor shunn'd he that encounter ; each one sought 

The other. And so fierce a rivalry 

Our quarrel would have soon decided, when 

Some troops that came between us made our strokes 

Pall indiscriminate amongst the throng. 

Scene 7. 
Alexander, Oleophila, HEPHiESTiON. 


Well, have they brought that rash, misguided Prince ? 


All places have been search'd, but aU as yet 

In vain, look as they may ; his flight or death 

Conceals the captive monarch from their eyes. 

But in their flight a remnant of his troops. 

Surrounded, stay'd further pursuit awhile. 

And seem disposed to sell their lives fuU dear. ^ 

f 31 

100 bacine's works. [act IV. 


Disarm but do not drive them to despair. 
Our task must be to bend this stubborn Queen, 
And thereby, Madam, for my passion win 
Your brother's favour, and since on his peace 
My own depends, let us make that secure. 

Scene 1. 


Am I to hear these shouts of victory 

For ever ringing glory to my foes, 

Eeproach to me ? Aid may I not, at least. 

Hold solitary converse with my woes ? 

Incessantly pursued by one I hate, 

I care not for my life, try what they may 

To make me love it ; while close watch they keep. 

But, Porus, ne'er believe I can be stopp'd 

From following thee. Doubtless thy heart refused 

T' outlive thy star : vain all their arm'd pursuit, 

Thine efforts would thy presence have betray'd, 

So they must look for thee amongst the dead. 

Alas, when thou didst leave me, and thy love 

Flooded thine heart, these ills that crush me now 

Seem'd then foreseen ; when into mine thine eyes 

Gazed fondly, and besought to know thy place 

Within my heart. Of failure on the field 

Thou didst not reck ; 'twas love that caused thy fear. 

Why did I hide with many a subterfuge 

A secret which to know not vex'd thy peace ? 

How oft thine eyes, making resistance weak, 

Almost compelled my silence to give way ! 

How oft, responsive to thy strong desire 

E'en in thy presence heartfelt sighs escaped ! 

But still I sought to doubt thy victory ; 

As Glory's incense to myself explain'd 

Those sighs ; and fancied that nought else I loved. 


Forgive ! to-day I feel I loved but thee ! 

As many a time before, I own it now, 

Glory possessed my soul, but I refrain'd 

From telling, as I ought, that it was thou 

Didst fix my homage. Her I leam'd to know 

Thro' seeing thee, and, ardent as I was. 

Seen in another should have loved her less. 

But, ah, what boots it to vent useless sighs 

Thou canst no longer hear, lost in the void ? 

'Tis time my soul, descending to the tomb, 

Should pledge the love for which thou long didst yearn 

In vain, and, as a seal of faithfulness, * 

Show that this heart cannot survive its loss. 

Canst thou suppose that I could wish to live 

The Conqueror's captive, to whose will thy death 

Delivers us ? I know he means to come 

To speak with me ; and, giving back my throne. 

Thinks to console me, thinks my hatred quell'd 

May serve for trophy of his clemency. 

Ay, let him come, and he shall see me die 

A monarch to the last, worthy of thee ! 

Scene 2. 
Alexander, Axiana. 


Well, Sire ! and do you find some secret joy 
In seeing tears your arms have forced to flow ? 
Or is it that you grudge me, in my fall. 
Freedom to weep, alone with misery ? 


Your grief shall be as free as it is just : 
Madam, you mourn a Prince magnanimous. 
I was his foe, but need not therefore blame 
The tears devoted to the hero's death. 
Ere to her borders India saw me come. 
His brilliant virtues made him known to me. 

102 BACINB's WOBKS. [act IV. 

Conspicuous among Earth's greatest kings ; 
I knew — 


Why came you then with fierce attack? 
What led you from the world's remotest bounds 
In search of yirtue to make war thereon ? 
Can signal merit burst upon your s^ht. 
And only move your pride to persecute ? 


"Ses, I sought Forus ; but, whate'er be said, 

I did not seek in order to destroy. 

I own that, burning with ambitious fire, 

I was attracted hither by his fame, 

And but to hear he was invincible 

Made my heart eager for fresh enterprise. 

Whilst I was dreaming that on me alone. 

For many a gallant fight, all eyes were set, 

I saw the valour of this warrior spread. 

Till Fame between us held her balance poised. 

When from his arm increasing terrors flew, 

India to me seem'd to present a field 

Deserving my best efforts, for I tired 

Of kings too feeble to resist, and heard 

With joy of such a brave and gallant foe 

To whet my courage. So I came to seek 

Glory and danger. Far did he surpass 

AH I had heard, and Victory, before 

So constant, almost left my side to join 

Your ranks. The least success was hardly won ; 

And Forus, when he lost a battle, saw 

His glory grow yet greater in defeat, 

A f aU so noble but exalts his fame. 

Not to have fought would vex his spirit more. 


Alas ! that he, in patriotic zeal, 
Felt bound to cast away all care for' life ; 
For, harass'd and betray' d on every side. 
Headlong he charged a multitude of foes. 


But were it true Ms warlike ardour fired 

Your soul, and show'd an open path to fame, 

Why with unworthy weapons did you fight ? 

Were you obliged with cunning to oppose 

Courage ; to wait upon another's wiU 

For his defeat, and mar your fair renown ? 

Triumph ; but be assured that in his heart 

Already Taxiles disputes with you 

The conqueror's glorious name, and with some show 

Of justice ; but for him, the traitor boasts, 

You would have won no bays. This soothes my smart. 

To see your glory shared by such as he. 


Your passion vainly strives to smirch my fame, 
I ne'er was known to steal a victory ; 
And none can say that I subdue my foes 
Kot with the sword, but guile and stratagem. 
The coward's a^s. Outnumbered everywhere. 
Yet never have I deign'd to hide myself. 
Or owe my triumph to an ambuscade ; 
But in the light of day I fight and win. 

With genuine grief I mourn your country's fate ; 
I would have spared your princes a defeat. 
Had they but followed my advice and wish, 
I would have saved them, or have fought them both. 
Believe me. 


Yes, you are invincible : 
Is't not enough that all is in your pow'r ? 
Why must you cast so many kings in chains ? 
Make with impunity the whole world groan ? 
What had so many captured cities done ? 
Why is Hydaspes cumbered with our dead ? 
What have I done to cause the overthrow 
Of him who could alone attract my eye ? 
Did he invade your borders, deluge Greece 
With blood ? What nations have been roused by us 
To rage and opposition against you ? 
Your glory we admired, we grudged it not. 

104 Racine's works. [act iv. 

Charm'd with each other, with our thrones content. 

We look'd to find a happier lot than yours : 

The only conquest Porus wish'd to win 

Was o'er a heart that might have own'd him lord 

This day. Were his the only blood you shed, 

That crime your only title to reproach, 

Would it not mar your happiness to feel 

You came so far to snap so fair a tie 

Between our hearts ? Nay, flatter not your soul, 

You are a tyrant, nothing else. 


I see 
Your purpose. Madam ; to provoke my wrath 
To rise against you with outrageous taunts. 
You hope, perchance, my kindness, tried too far, 
May violate its former character. 
But, if your virtue could exert no spell. 
The conqueror is disarm'd to your attack ; 
Compassion moves me, e'en against your will. 
And I respect you in your deep distress. 
It is this trouble that distorts your sight. 
So that a hateful tyrant I appear : 
Else would you own, the glory of my arms 
Has not been always stain'd with blood and tears. 
And you would see — 


Can I help seeing them. 
Those virtues which embitter my despair ? 
Have I not seen your triumphs everywhere 
Free from the insolence that stings the brave ? 
Scythians and Persians see I not well pleased 
To bear your yoke, and vaimt your clemency, 
Eager to guard your person, and supplant 
Your people in a charge so coveted ? 
But what does it avail the heart you wound 
Everywhere else to hear your goodness praised ? 
Can you expect my hatred to be soothed, 
Because the hand that tortures me is kiss'd 
By others ? Can the kings that you have help'd, 


Nations content to serve you, give me back 
Poms ? No, Sire ; my hatred is increased 
By others' love, e'en tho' myself compell'd 
To admiration ; Earth's united voice 
Shall not dictate to me, tho' none be found 
To share my hatred. 


I excuse the wrath 
That springs from love, yet well may be surprised. 
If common rumour has reported right, 
Porus no special favour won from you. 
Wavering in choice 'tween Taxiles and him ; 
Whilst he yet lived, your heart refused to speak, 
But, when he can no longer hear your voice, 
Now, for the first time, you declare for him ! 
Think you that, conscious of your new-bom flame, 
E'en in the tomb he claims it for himself ? 
Load not yourself with unavailing grief. 
Cares more important summon you elsewhere. 
Sufficient tribute to his memory 
Your tears have paid. Eeign, with fresh lustre shine. 
And, to your stricken heart restoring peace, 
Strengthen your realms, sore shaken by his fall ; 
Choose them a master &om so many langs : 
Deeper in love than ever, Taxiles — 


The traitor ! 


Prithee take a milder tone ; 
He bears no stain of treason against you, 
Lord of his own dominions, he resolved 
To shield them from the thunderbolt of war ; 
No oath, no duty bound him to leap down 
Into the gulf where Porus chose to plunge. 
Think, it is Alexander, he himseU, 
That cares t' advance your lover's happiness ; 
Think how, united by so just a choice, 
Indus shall with Hydaspes own your sway. 
All shall be easy, when your interests 

106 Racine's works. [act iv. 

Are my concern and closely joined with those 
Of Taxiles. 

He comes. I do not wish 
My presence to embarrass him. His voice 
Will best explain what, utter'd by my lips. 
Seems to offend. Lovers like soHtude : 
I'll not disturb it. 

Scene 3. 
AxiANA, Taxiles. 


Mighty King, draw near, 
Great Monarch of the Indus ; you have had 
Tour praise sung here, and I have been rebuked 
For anger against one who, it is said. 
Would please me if he could, whose love is warm'd 
By my cold treatment ; I am urged forsooth 
To love you in return. Know you the task 
Which I would set you, — ^how to touch my heart ? 
And are you ready — 


Madam, only prove 
What pow'r so sweet a hope has o'er my h^rt. 
What must I do ? 


He who would win my love 
Must be in love with glory, as am I, 
Interpret vows into fine feats of arms. 
And hate, as I do, Alexander's name ; 
Into the midst of terrors he must march 
Fearless ; must fight and conquer, or be slain. 
Compare yourself with Porus, and decide 
Which of the two is worthier of me. 
Yes, Sir, my heart, that seem'd to be in doubt. 
Knew well the difference between a King 
And a base slave. I loved him, and I love. 


Since jealous Fate forbids him to enjoy 
The sweet confession, I have chosen you 
As witness. Ever shall my tears revive 
His memory, and you shall see me place 
My only pleasure left in telling you 
Of him. 


In vain my ardour seeks to warm 
A soul as cold as ice. Poms has set 
His deathless image there. Should I confront 
Grim Death to please you, I should please you not. 
Unless I perish'd, nor can — 


My esteem 
May be regained ; wash out in foemen's blood 
Tour crime. Lo ! Fortune smiles ; the hero's Shade 
Gkithers his scatter'd troops beneath his flag, 
And seems the only pow'r that can arrest 
Their flight ; yours too, ashamed of your commands. 
Wear on their brows wrath and repentance writ 
For all to read. Add fuel to the fire 
Which now consumes them ; and to us restore 
Our Freedom, that begins to breathe again ; 
Be the defender of your throne and mine. 
And let not Poms wait to find an heir. 
You answer nothing. By your face I see 
You lack the courage for so grand a scheme ; 
Th' example of a hero calls in vain ; 
You hug your chains. Leave me, and live a slave ! 


This is too much ! Madam, do you forget 
That, if you force me to it, I may use 
The Master's tone, provoked by your contempt 
Beyond endurance. All you luive is mine. 
And, since my homage but inflames your pride, 
I shall be able — 

108 BACINK's works. [act IV. 


Yes, I know it well. 
I am your prisoner, and you fain would make 
My wishes captive too, till to your sighs 
My heart responds. Good ! Cast away that mask 
Of irksome mildness, terrors be your aid, 
Speak with the tyrant's tongue, ready to sting. 
Try all you can, I cannot hate you more : 
Deal not, I pray you, in mere idle threats. 

Your sister comes, to prompt you in your part. 
Farewell. Her counsels and my wishes tend 
To the same goal, and you will help me soon 
To follow Porus. 


Nay, but rather — 

Scene 4. 

Taxiles, Cleophila. 


This thankless Queen, sworn to disturb our peace 
With deathless hate, who makes of your despair 
Her sole delight. Forget — 


No, in my heart 
Her image is enshrined ; I worship her. 
Tho' aU my sighs meet ceaseless enmity, 
In spite of your persuasion, her disdain, 
Against my will, her must I ever love. 
Nor need her wrath surprise us ; you and I 
Have giv'n her cause enough. Ah ! but for you. 
And your ill counsel which has been my curse, 
I should be now, if loved not, less abhorr'd ; 
Ay, but for you, defended by my care. 
My love with that of Porus she might we^h 


In doubt ; and would not that be happiness, 
To make her for a moment hesitate ? 
I can no longer live beneath her scorn ; 
I must fall humbly at her cruel feet, 
Or run with speed to execute her wrath, 
Tho' aim'd at Alexander or at you. 
I know the ardour of your mutual flame. 
But 'tis too much to sacrifice my peace 
For yours, forget myself to give you joy ; 
Nay, all must perish, may I but be blest. 


Go then, and to the battle-field return ; 
Let not the flame die down that fires you now ; 
Why lingers this inconstant courage here ? 
Haste to the conflict : Porus waits for you. 


Is Porus living ? Has he then appear'd ? 


Yes, his tremendous strokes too well attest 
'Tis he. What happened he foresaw : his death 
Being noised abroad held back the Conqueror's arm. 
Too credulous. He hither comes to wake 
Their slumbering valour, triumph premature 
To check, and, doubt it not, with love and rage 
Inflamed, to seize his mistress, or be slain 
Before her eyes. Nay more, seduced by her, 
Your camp breaks out in murmurs, well prepared 
To follow Porus. Go, like a generous swain. 
Succour your rival loved so tenderly ! 

Scene 5. 


Ha ! Bent upon my ruin, Fate 
Calls back my dangerous rival from the grave. 
Again shall he behold those eyes whose tears 

110 bacine'b wobes. [act V, 

Mourn'd him, and dead preferred him yet to me. 
'Tis more than I can bear ! Let me but see 
What Fortune offers, and with whom shall rest 
The glorious prize ; nor will I idly watch 
The issue from afar, in feeble wrath. 


8ce7ie 1. 
Alexandeb, Cleophila. 


What ! Fear'd you Poms after his defeat, 
My victory imperfect in your eyes ? 
'No, no ; my captive could not me escape. 
Trapp'd by my orders, taken in the toils. 
Dread him no longer ; rather pity hitn. 


I fear him most, when most he pity claims. 
Brave as he was, the fame he won in war 
Troubled my mind far less than does his fall. 
While at his back a mighty army march'd, 
Their exploits and his own alarm'd me not. 
But now, unfortunate, a King discrown'd. 
Henceforth he will be ranged among your friends. 


No right has Poms now to such a place ; 
For Alexander's hatred he has sought 
Too far. He knows how loath I was to strike, 
But when I did, 'twas with as fierce a hate 
As he could wish. A warning shall he be 
To all the world. On him must I avenge 
The iUs that war has wrought, to prevent which 
Was in his pow'r. 'Tis his own act that brings 


Its pimishment. Twice conquered, and by you 
Hated — 


I cannot say I hate him, Sire ; 
And were I free to hearken to the voice 
Of his misfortunes that appeal to me, 
I'd tell you he was greatest of our princes ; 
His arm was long the stay of all our States ; 
He wish'd, perhaps, in marching against you, 
To show at least that he deserved to fall 
Under no stroke but yours, that the same field 
Might bring renown to both, and link his name 
With Alexander's. But such warm defence 
Would wound my brother, and destroy his hopes. 
So long as Porus lives, what can ^ be ? 
Ruin must needs be his, and mine as well 
It may be ; for his love, obtaining nought, 
Will hold me guilty, fit for punishment. 
E'en now your heart is fluttering for new flights 
Of conquest thro' the world. When I shall see 
The Ganges roll his flood 'tween you and him. 
Who will restrain my brother's unjust wrath ? 
My lonely soul wiU languish, far from you. 
Alas ! Should he condemn my sighs to cease, 
What would become of this poor heart of mine, 
The Conqueror to whom I gave it gone ? 


Madam, enough ; if you have giv'n your heart, 

'Tis mine, command your brother as he will, 

To guard more safely than those vanquish'd lands 

Which I have kept only to offer you. 

One conquest more ; then, dearest, I return, . 

Thenceforth my sole ambition to be king 

Over your soul, and yet myseK obey, 

Placing within your hands my destiny. 

And all mankind's. Eeady to bear my yoke. 

The Mallian awaits me, at the verge 

Of ocean, where I need but show myself 

112 bacine's wobks. [act v. 

As conqueror of the world and of your heart, 
When the proud element — 


What ! War on war ? 
Seek you for subjects e'en beyond the Earth ? 
And lands to their inhabitants unknown, 
Must they bear witness to your brilKant deeds ? 
What foes do you expect 'neath skies so rude ? 
They wiU oppose you with their desert wastes, 
Sunless and solitary, where Nature's self 
Seems to expire. And there, perchance, may Fate 
In ambush lie to seize you, venting thus 
The secret envy that has tried in vain 
To cloud your grand career, resolved at least 
That dumb Forgetfulness shall dig your grave. 
Must you drag, then, the remnants of a host 
That twenty times has perish' d, twenty times 
Has been renew'd ? A hundred battle-fields 
Have swallow'd half the troops you lately led ; 
Those that survive claim pity, and their groans — 


I have but to prepare them for their march. 
And they will follow me with hearts revived, 
Howe'er they murmur in an idle camp. 
And count their woimds; soon they will blame them- 
And beg me to expose them to fresh blows. 
Let me meanwhile support your brother's suit : 
His rival can no longer cross his love. 
Have I not spoken ? And again I say — 


Here comes the Queen, my lord. 


Scene 2. 
Alexander, Axiana, Cleophila. 


Well ; Porus lives. 
Madam, it seems that Heav'n has heard your prayers, 
And giv'n him back to you. 


Nay, rather say. 
Takes him for ever from me. Nor can hope 
Allay my present pain. His death before 
Was doubtful, now 'tis sure. He dares the worst. 
To see me once again, or give me help. 
Helpless himself, alone against a host. 
In vain his gallant efforts caused alarm 
At first ; in vain a few brave warriors, nerved 
By his bold courage, scared the victor's camp. 
He must succumb, and valiant to the last, 
Fall on the heaps of slain that bar his way. 
Oh, could I only, making my escape. 
Show myself there, and die before his eyes ! 
But Taules, the traitor, holds me fast. 
And goes himself meanwhile to feast his eyes 
Upon his rival's blood, and see him lie 
Low in the arms of Death, if so he dare 
To meet him. 


Madam, by my care his life 
Is saved ; and soon shall his return content 
Your heart's desire. You shall see him. 


Can your care reach to him, and shall the arm 
That crush'd him be his stay, the conqueror's hand 
Give safety ? Yet, what wonder is too great, 


114 bacinb's wobks. [act y. 

Issuing from such a source ? I call to mind 
How that you said you hold the v^^nquish'd foe 
A foe no longer, and that Poms was 
Never your foe at all ; that glory arm'd 
Yourself and him alike, him prompt to try 
His courage against yours, you to attack 
But not destroy. 


The scorn that braved my wrath 
Doubtless deserves a conqueror more severe ; 
His pride in falling seems to gather strength, 
But I have ceased to be his enemy, 
And cast off hatred when I drop that name. 
Of his reward shall Taxiles be judge. 
To ruin or to spare, as seems him best. 
In short it is to him you must appeal. 


What ! go and beg for mercy at his feet ! 
Sent to make proof how kind is Taxiles ! 
If Porus must solicit such support. 
Surely your hatred has decreed his death : 
'Twas his destruction after all you sought. 
How easily a generous soul is duped ! 
Too credidous and ready to forget, 
Virtues in you I praised which were not yours. 
Arm yourself then, my lord, with cruelty. 
As a mere butcher end your grand career ! 
And, having raised so many fallen foes, 
Destroy the one whom most you sought to spare. 


Strange love for Porus yours, that will not stoop 
To save his life, but scorns my proffered boon, 
And brands me as a jealous hypocrite ! 
Well, if he dies, accuse yourself alone. 
I see him coming, and shall learn his will ; 
His judgment Porus shall himself pronounce. 


Scene 3. 

PoBus, Alexjlnder, Axiana, Cleophila, Hephastiok, 
Alexandeb's Guards. 


Well, Porus, so your pride has borne its fruit ! 
Where is the fair success that lured you on ? 
Your soaring spirit is at last cast down. 
Offended majesty a victim claims : 
ITothing can save you. 

Yet will I once more 
Offer a pardon many times refused. 
This queen rebels against my clemency, 
Thinks constancy more precious than your life ; 
Would have you die wiliiout a moment's doubt. 
So long ais to the tomb you bear the name 
Of her true lover. Pay not such a price 
For boast so vain. Live, and let Taxiles 
Be happy. 

Taxiles ! 




I approve 
Your care so well bestow'd. What he has done 
Por you deserves no less. 'Twas he that snatch*d 
Tictory from me, gave you his sister, sold 
His honour, me betray 'd. What can you do 
One service out of all to recompense ? 
But I already have forestalled your care ; 
Go, see him die upon the battle field. 


Taxiles 1 

116 Racine's works. [act t. 

What is this? 


Yes, Sire, he's dead. 
Having himself tempted the stroke of Fate. 
Porus, tho' vanquished,' still surrender scom'd, 
And seem'd attacker rather than attack' d. 
His soldiers, fallen, wounded to the death, 
Shelter'd him with their bodies where thej lay ; 
And there, as if within a fort enclosed, 
'Gainst our whole host he bravely stood at bay, 
And with an arm that fear and slaughter dealt. 
Our boldest warriors foiling, held his post. 
I meant to spare him ; his fast failing strength 
Would soon have placed his life withm my pow*r. 
When to the fatal field rush'd Taxiles : 
** liOt be," he cried, " I claim this captive mine. 
Porus, your hour is come, and death is sure, 
Perish, or yield the Queen to me." 

He spoke. 
And Porus, at that voice rekindling rage. 
Lifted an arm wearied with many a blow, 
While with his eye he sought him, proud and calm : 
" Is that the faithless Taxiles I hear, 
That traitor to his country," he exclaim'd, 
" T' his mistress, and to me ? Come, coward, come ! 
Yes, Axiana's yours, my prize I yield, — 
But your stout arm must take my life as well ! 
Approach ! " 

Thereat th' enfuriate rivals rush'd 
To deadly conflict. We, as best we could, 
To their encounter all our force opposed. 
But Porus carves a passage thro' our ranks, 
Meets Taxiles, and with a single thrust 
Pierces his heart ; then, satisfied, his sword 


For my brother I must weep ; 
On me, my lord, your arms with all their weight 


Have fallen. Vainly sought lie your support ; 
Alas, your glory has but wrought his death. 
Can Alexander's friendship help him now ? 
But will you see him to the grave descend 
All unavenged, while his assassin boasts 
Before his sister's eyes and yours, my lord ? 


Let Alexander to her tears attend. 

She has my sympathy, for with good cause 

She mourns a brother, whom she strove in vain 

To save, by making him a coward first. 

It was not Porus who attack'd, 'twas he, 

The traitor, that confronted his just wrath. 

Why in the battle's tumult did he mix ? 

Came he to snatch him from the conqueror's grasp ? 

Nay, but when all was lost to overwhelm 

A king who from his victors won respect ? 

But why deprive you of a pretext, urged 

So plausibly ? Her brother has been slain 

By Porus ; 'tis enough ; with generous blood 

Appease his ghost, and so avenge yourself. 

But I too share his crime. Yes, Porus, yes. 

My heart is yours, as Alexander knows ; 

Your rival knew it to his cost ; from you 

Alone I kept it. The last joy I feel 

Is to declare it to yourself. 


'Tis time 
That Alexander should be satisfied. 
Pear Porus, who tho' vanquish'd yet could do 
As you have heard, who, by your troops hemm'd in, 
Eevenged defeat, whose name can raise fresh foes, 
And wake from sleep a hundred fetter 'd kings ; 
Quench in my blood these dangerous sparks of war. 
Then go, and safely conquer all the earth 
That's left. But think not that a heart like mine 
Can thank a conqueror, and forego its rights. 
Speak, and, without expecting me to soil 

118 bacinb's works. [act t. 

My honour, let us see how you can use 
Your victory. 


Is that proud spirit still 
Unbroken, Porus ? And will your last breath 
Be spent in threatening words r Victory herself 
Must fear such pride ; your name is stiU worth more 
Than armies ; I must take security. 
Tell me then how to treat you. 


Like a king. 


Well, like a king's then shall your treatment be ^ 

I will not leave my victory incomplete ; 

'Tis your own wish, nor will you raise complaint* 

Porus, reign on ; I give you back your crown ; 

And, with my friendship, Axiana take ; 

To welcome bonds I thus condemn you both. 

Live both, and reign ; alone of many kings, 

Ear as the Gunges' banks your rule extend. 


Such treatment. Madam, may surprise you ; but 
'Tis thus that Alexander wreaks revenge. 
I love you, and my heart, touch'd by your sighs. 
With your displeasure would not weigh the lives 
Of thousands. But a gallant warrior's death. 
Disarmed and captive, would yourself offend : 
Porus would triumph in a bold contempt 
For all my harshness, and to th' grave descend 
Victorious. Let me end as I began, 
And bring you generosity unstain'd 
As my best gift. Let Porus take his crown 
Bestored by me ; and you yourself shall reign 
O'er all the world besides. Grace well the throne 
With goodness as with beauty ; make your sway 
Noble as well as brilliant from the first ; 
And let a sister's anger be forgot. 



Yes, Madam, reign ; and suffer me t' esteem 
The greatness of the Hero who has giv*n 
His heart to jou. Love him, and see the world 
Adore him ; prize so sweet a privilege. 


Sire, until now, the dread of all mankind 
Forced me t' admire the fortune of your arms : 
But *mid the widespread terror I could see 
In you no virtues that surpassed my own. 
I bow submissive now, and own myself 
Vanquished by one whose magnanimity 
Equals his valour. Go, subdue the world 
To your obedience ; it shall see me lend 
Support to all your exploits ; I am yours. 
And will do all I can to give to it 
So great a master. 


What can heart so sad 
As mine say to my lord ? Shall I repine 
Because to Porus Alexander deigns 
Both life and sceptre to restore ? He knows 
What best becomes his glory. Press me not 
For furthur speech ; in silence let me weep. 


Yes, Madam, I too mourn a faithful friend ; 
And fervent sorrow finds relief in sighs ; 
A splendid tomb shall tell a future age 
Of my remembrance and of your regret. 






IN this tragedy, which made its appearance in 1667» 
there is a more intricate plot than is usual in Racine's 
plays, and it offers a greater variety of character and 
motive. Love, jealousy, friendship, conjugal fidelity,, 
maternal tenderness, anger, and despair are all portrayed 
with skilful touches ; and if the laiiguage is that of the 
French Court of the seventeenth century, the natural 
emotions of the human heart, the same in all ages, show 
themselves plainly under the mask of conventional man- 

Racine has taken the subject of his drama from the 
third book of Virgil's "-ffineid," 11. 291-322, and the 
*' Andromache" of Euripides, but has modified the ancient 
tradition so far as to make Hector's son Astyanax the 
object of the heroine's solicitude, instead of Molossus, the 
fruit of her subsequent union with I^rrhus. 


Andkomxche, Widow of Hector^ Captive of Pyrrkus. 

Pyrrhus, So7i of Achilles, King of Epirus, 

Orestes, Son of Agamemnon, 

Hbrmione, Daughte-r of Helen, betrothed to PyrrhuH, 

Ptlades, Friend of Orestes, 

Oleone, Friend ofHermiotie, 

Cephissa, Friend of Andromache, 

Phcenix, Tutor of Achilles, and afterwards of Pyrrhtis, 

Attendants t)/" Orestes. 

The scene is laid at Bathrotnm, a town of Epirus, in a hall at 
the Palace of Pvrrhus. 




Scene 1. 
Obestes, Ptlades. 


Yes, since I find again a friend so true, 

My fortune 'gins to wear another face ; 

Already seems her wrath to have been soothed, 

Permitting us to meet each other here. 

Who would have thought that this detested coast 

Would first present you to Orestes' eyes ; 

And, lost six months and more, you should be found 

Where in Epirus Pyrrhus holds his court ? 


Thanks be to Heav'n, that has detained my steps 

So oft, and seem'd to shut me out from Greece, 

Since that disastrous day when winds and waves 

Scattered our vessels almost in the sight 

Of this Epirus. How I moum'd and wept, 

Myself an exile, for Orestes' fate ; 

Dreading for him ever some danger new. 

Some sorrow that my friendship could not share ! 

That melancholy most of all I fear'd 

Which I have seen so long your soul o'ercloud ; 

I fear'd that Heav'n might grant you cruel aid. 

126 bacine's wobks. [act i. 

And offer wliat you ever sought, — a tomb. 
But now I see you, and, if I may dare 
To say it, happier fortune brings you here : 
This stately train that on your steps attends 
Looks not like that of wretch who seeks his death. 


Alas ! Who knows what fortune is my guide ? 
Love bids me ^seek a cruel mistress here ; 
But I am ignorant of Fate's decrees, 
Whether 'tis life or death that I shall find. 


Is then your soul so boimd in slavery, 
That for Love's sake alone you care to live ? 
What spell constrains you to those fires again, 
The tortures you have suffer'd all forgot ? 
Will she, who would not listen to your pray'rs 
At Sparta, in Epirus prove more Mnd ? 
Ashamed of having utter'd vows so vain. 
You should despise her ; speak no more of her. 
Your words deceived me. 


I deceived myself. 
O'erwhelm not, friend, a wretch who clings to you : 
Have I from you e'er hidden heart's desire ? 
You knew my flame fresh bom, my earliest sighs : 
When Menelaus pledged his daughter's hand 
To Pyrrhus, the avenger of his race. 
You witness 'd my despair ; since then you've seen 
How I have dragg'd my chains from sea to sea. 
I saw you, pitying my forlorn estate, 
Eeady to follow me where'er I went ; 
Checking my madness in its wild career, 
You saved me from myself from day to day. 
But when, distracted by my fears, I thought 
Hermione was lavishing her charms 
On Pyrrhus, well you know how, fill'd with wrath, 
I strove to make f orgetf ulness repay 


Her scorn. I made you think, and thought myself. 

The victory achieved ; deem'd passion changed 

To hatred, and, disparaging her charms, 

Abhorr'd her harshness, and defied her eyes 

To raise the tender feelings I had crush'd. 

In that deceitfid calm I came to Greece, 

And found her princes muster'd to withstand 

A danger, and no mean one, that appeared 

Praught with fresh troubles Eagerly I join'd 

Their ranks, and hoped in war to find release 

Prom other cares, that, former strength regain'd. 

My heart would lose all memory of love. 

But mark with me how persecuting Fate 

Entrapp'd me in the snare I thought to shun. 

On every side I heard murmurs and threats 

Baised against Pyrrhus from the whole of Greece, 

Complaining that, forgetful of his blood 

And promise, at his court he rears her foe, 

Astyanax, the young ill-fated son 

Of Hector, relic of so many kings 

Buried 'neath Troy. To save the babe from death, 

Andromache, as I have heard, deceived 

Wily Ulysses, while another child, 

Tom from her arms, was slaughtered in his stead. 

They say Hermione has failed to charm 

My rival, that elsewhere his heart and crown 

He offers. Menelaus, loath to trust 

The rumour, is sore vex'd at long delay. 

The cause of his displeasure is to me 

A source of secret triumph, yet at first 

I deem'd it but a feeling of revenge, 

A thought that flatter'd pride. But soon I found 

The fair tormentor had resumed her place 

Within my heart ; the smouldering fire revived, 

I felt my hatred melt and disappear, 

Or rather felt my love had never ceased. 

Soliciting support from all the Greeks, 

To Pyrrhus I was sent, and here I am. 

My mission is to try if I can wrest 

This infant from his arms, who, while he lives. 

Brings fear to many. Happy shall I be. 

128 ra.oike'8 wobks. [act I. 

K I can carry off, not Hector's son. 

But my princess ! Nor fancy that my flame, 

Fann'd by repression, can extinguished be 

By any peril. All resistance proved 

To be in vain, I blindly yield myself 

To Passion's sway ; I love Hermione, 

Am come to win her, fly with her^ or die. 

Pyrrhus you know ; what think you will he do ? 

Tell me what passes in his court, and what 

Within his heart. Still to Hermione 

Is he enslaved ? Will he restore the prize 

Of which he robb'd me ? 


Should I promise that, 
I should deceive you ; not with his consent 
Shall she be yours. Not that he seems much pleased 
T* have won her ; Hector's widow fires his heart 
With warmer passion, but she proves unkind. 
And hitherto has paid his love with hate, 
Tho' daily he attempts in every way 
To bind her stubborn will or rouse her fears. 
From her he hides her boy, threatens his life, 
Then fain woidd dry the tears he forced to flow. 
Hermione has seen a hundred times 
Her lover's wrath submit to sue again. 
And offer humbly oft rejected vows. 
With troubled sighs of mingled love and rage. 
You must not then expect that I can tell 
Th' emotions of a heart so ill controll'd. 
In its distraction he may wed, perchance. 
The one he scorns, and lose the one he loves. 


But tell me how Hermione beholds 

Her charms contemn'd, the marriage rites delay'd. 


To all appearance she would seem, my lord, 
Disdainful of her suitor's fickleness. 

8C£NE 2.] ANDROMACHE. 129 

And thinks that anxious to be reconciled. 
He'll soon entreat her to take back his heart. 
To me indeed she has her grief reveal'd ; 
She mourns in secret his indifference ; 
Beady to leave him, still she always stays. 
And sometimes calls Orestes to her aid. 


Ah, if I thought so, Pylades, full soon 
Would I go, cast myself — 


Fulfil your ta^k ; 
Wait on the King, and tell him that all Greece 
Is banded against Hector's son. So far 
From giving up the child of her he loves. 
Their hatred vnll but make his heart more fond ; 
All efforts made to part them will the more 
Unite them. Urge your mission, and its end 
Must fail. He comes. 


Prepare her then to see 
A lover who comes hither but tor her. 

Scene 2, 
Pybbhtts, Obestes, Fh(enix. 


Ere by my voice all Greece addresses you. 
Let me express my pleasure in her choice 
CMt me, and at beholding face to face 
Achilles' offspring, conqueror of Troy. 
Yes, we admire your exploits like his own j 
Before him Hector fell, Troy before you ; 
Your daring and success alike have shown 
Achilles' son alone can fill his place. / (^ O 

T. K 

130 bacine's woses. [act I. 

But what he never would have done, with pain 

We see you do, giving unhappy Troy 

Fresh pow'r to injure, letting pity move 

Your heart with fatal touch, prolonging feud 

Already waged so long. Do you forget 

The might of Hector ? We remember still 

What blood he cost us ; at his very name 

Widows and orphans tremble*; not a home 

But calls for vengeance on this son of his. 

For father or for husband lost thro' him. 

Who kaows what harm this child may one day work ? 

Perchance he may come down upon our ports. 

As we have seen his sire do, bum our ships. 

And, fire in hand, pursue them o'er the- waves. 

Sir, shall I dare to tell you what I think ? 

You fear what recompense your cares may meet, 

And lest this serpent, in your bosom nursed. 

May punish you one day for sheltering him. 

Be the desire of Q-reece then satisfied. 

Secure your life by wreaking her revenge ; 

Destroy a dangerous foe, who will on you 

Practise the sword hereafter to be used 

Against her. 


Greece alarms herself too much 
On my behalf. By more important cares 
I thought her moved, and that such envoy brought 
Some grander project than I yet have heard. 
Who would suppose that Agamemnon's son 
Would deign to intervene in this affair: 
Or that all Greece, after such triumphs won. 
Could thus conspire against an infant's life ? 
To whom am I to make the sacrifice ? 
Q-reece may no longer claim his life as hers ; 
Or is it not allow'd to me, alone 
Of all the Greeks, to treat as I may please 
A captive won by lot ? When 'neath the walls 
Of smoking Troy the victors, blood besprent. 
The spoil divided, to my share there fell 
Andromache and Hector's infant son ; 


Ulysses made the cup of misery 
Overflow for Hecuba ; to Argos went 
Cassandra with your sire. Have I control!' d 
Them or their captives, or presumed to claim 
The fruit of their brave deeds ? They fear the day 
When Hector shall revive, — ^his son may take 
My life if his be spared. Such caution shows 
Care in excess. Misfortunes so remote 
Are quite beyond my ken. I see proud Troy 
As once she was, Mother of heroes, Queen 
Of Asia, crown'd with tow'rs ; and then I see 
How she fell headlong, how she prostrate lies ; 
For walls but heaps of ashes I behold, — 
A river that runs blood, forsaken fields, 
A child in chains ; and little can I think 
That Troy, so fallen, meditates revenge. 
If it were sworn that Hector's son should die. 
Why did we let a year pass o'er his head ? 
Why could we not have slain him in the arms 
Of Priam ? Troy might well have been his tomb 
No less than that of others. Age and Youth 
Pleaded alike in vain their wealmess then ; 
War's frenzy and night's darkness, worse than we, 
Left no distinctions to our murderous swords. 
My rage was fierce as that of any there 
Against the vanquish'd. But should cruelty 
Outlive one's fury ? Can I in cool blood. 
Discarding pity, slaughter a poor child ? 
No, Sir ; let Greece hunt up some other prey, 
Efface elsewhere all vestiges of Troy : 
My enmity is finish' d, and what war 
Has spared Epirus safely shall preserve, 


You know, my lord, full well what cunning trick 
Brought to the sword a false Astyanax 
Instead of Hector's son. It is not Troy 
Nor Trojans, it is Hector they pursue ; 
Greece tracks the father's footsteps in the son ; 
The wrath his bloodshed kindled must in blood 

132 Racine's works. [act i. 

Be quench'd, and none but Hector's can avail ; 
E'en to Epirus will they follow it : 
Prevent them. 


No, the challenge I accept 
With joy, and in Epirus let them seek 
A second Troy : while hatred makes them class 
With foes the friend who brought them victory. 
Greece will not then for the first time requite 
Unjustly all Achilles* services ; 
Once Hector profited, the day may come 
When Hector's Son shall profit in his turn. 


So Greece in you finds a rebellious son ! 


Have I then conquer'd only to depend 
On her? 


Hermione will check your course ; 
Between her father and yourself her eyes 
Will interpose. 


She may be dear to me. 
And yet I need not be her father's slave 
Because I love her. Time may reconcile 
Honour, perchance, with what affection claims. 
Meanwhile fair Helen's daughter you may see, 
I know what tie of blood links you and her. 
No longer will I keep you after that ; 
Go, say that I refuse what Greece demands. 


Scene 3. 
Ptbbhus, Ph(enix. 


Thus then you send him to his mistress' feet ! 


Long for the princess has his passion bum'd, 
They say. 


What, if that fire should be revived, 
His heart be giv'n to her, and hers to him ? 


Let them love, Phoenix ! She may take her leave 
With my consent. Ay, let th' enamour'd pair 
Go back to Sparta ; not a port shall bar 
Their exit. Let her spare me more constraint 1 


My lord ! 


I'll bare my soul another time, 
Andromache approaches. 

Scene 4. 
Pyrrhtts, Andromache, Phcenix, Cephissa. 


Is it I, 
Madam, you seek ? May I indulge a hope 
So pleasing ? 


I was passing to thQ place 
That holds my son, permitted once a day 

134 racine's works. [act i. 

To see the only being left to me 
Of Troy and Hector ; and I have not yet 
Wept with him, no, nor held him in my arms 
A moment. 


Greece, if her alarm tells truth, 
Will give you other causes soon for tears. 


What is this terror that has struck her heart ? 
Has then some Trojan managed to escape ? 


Not yet extinguish'd is the hatred felt 
For Hector. And they dread his son. 


Their fear 
Has found a worthy object ! He, poor child, 
Yet knows not Hector for his sire, nor you 
For master ! 


All the saine, the Q-reeks demand 
His blood, and Agamemnon's son is here 
To urge his punishment. 


Will you pronounce 
Sentence so hard ? My interest in him 
Is his sole crime ; it is not that they fear 
He will avenge his father, but will dry 
His mother's tears. He would have filled the place 
CMt sire and husband. I must lose them all. 
And at your hand. 


Weep not, I have refused 
To do their bidding, tho' they threaten war ; 
Shall they again with twice five hundred ships 


Set sail, to force you to give up your son ; 
Tho' all the blood that Helen caused to flow 
Must be the price, and, after ten years' war. 
My palace sink in flames, I falter not. 
And with my own will I defend his life. 
But 'mid these perils, suffered for your sake. 
Will you refuse to grant a kinder look ? 
Press'd on all sides, and hated by the Greeks, 
Must I still strive against your cruelty ? 
My arm is at your service : may I hope 
You will accept the heart's devotion too ? 
Let not your champion have to reckon you 
Among the number of his enemies. 


Think what you do, my lord, what Q-reece will say. 

Can soul so great as yours such weakness show ? 

You would not have your generous purpose pass 

For the mere madness of a lovesick swain. 

How can you wish a captive sad as I 

To love you, — ^I, who cannot bear myself? 

Can eyes that sorrow haunts have charms for you, 

Doom'd by yourself to everlasting tears ? 

No, no ; respect your captive's misery, 

EeHeve the wretched, to a mother's arms 

Eestore a son, withstand the cruelty 

Of all the Greeks, nor make my heart the price 

Of succour ; and, at need against my will, 

Protect him. That were conduct that befits 

Achilles' son. 


What ! Is your wrath still hot ? 
Shall hatred and the punishment it prompts 
Ne'er cease ? Much woe I doubtless caused, and Troy 
Has seen this hand dyed crimson with your blood, 
A hundred times. But, smitten by the shafts 
From Beauty's eyes, have I not dearly paid 
For all their tears, and long since leam'd remorse ? 
I suffer all the the ills I gave to Troy; 
Vanquish'd and taken prisoner, with regrets 

136 BiLCINE's WOBES. [aCT I. 

Loaded, consumed with fires more fierce than those 

I kindled. Such anxiety, such tears. 

Such restless longings, — ^was I e'er so harsh 

As you are now ? Have you not punish'd me 

Indeed enough ? Nay, let our common foes 

Unite us. Tell me only I may hope, 

I give you back your son, will be to him 

A father, and will t«ach him to avenge 

His country. I myself will punish Q-reece 

For your calamities and mine. One look 

Shall give me strength for all. Troy shall revive, 

E'en from her ashes ; sooner than its siege 

Lasted, her walls shall yise, your son be crown'd 

Her king. 


I care not for such glory now, 
That prospect pleased me while his father lived. 
Troy's sacred walls that Hector could not save 
May never hope to see our faces more. 
My lord, the wretched are content with less j 
'Tis exile only that these tears demand. 
Far from the Greeks, ay, too, and far from you, 
Let me go hide my son, and mourn my loss. 
Your love inflames their hatred against us ; 
Return to Helen's daughter, oh, return ! 


That can I not. Then why distress me more ? 
How may a heart that's yours be giv'n to her ? 
I know that she was promised its command, 
I know she hither came to reign as queen ; 
Fate to Epirus brought you both alike. 
Her to impose the chains of slavery. 
And you to wear them. But I took no pains 
To please her. Seeing how your charms prevail 
And hers are scom'd, it might be rather thought 
That she is captive here, and you are queen. 
Ah, how a single sigh, of all I breathe 
For you, would carry joy if giv'n to her ! 



How should they not be welcome ? Can she e'er 
Forget the services that you have wrought ? 
Hector and Troy are names that do not cause 
A shudder, nor is all her tenderness 
Devoted to the dead. Ah, what a loss 
Was mine, bitter to think on 1 Slaying him 
Your father made himself immortal, gain'd 
The crown of all his glory, and my tears 
Have made you both renown*d. 


It needs must be 
That I obey you. Madam, and forget. 
Nay, hate you. Love has been too violent 
To change its course to mere indifference. 
Be well assured, the heart henceforth that loves 
No more with passion must with fury hate. 
Nought will I in my righteous anger spare ; 
The son shall answer for the mother's scorn ; 
Greece asks his life, why should I always stoop 
To save th' ungrateful ? Til do so no more. 


Alas, then he must die ! His mother's tears 
His sole protection, and his innocence — 
And yet, perchance, so wretched is my lot. 
His death may lift this load of misery. 
Life and its woes I bore but for his sake ; 
To follow him will bring me to his sire. 
Thus reunited, thanks to you, my lord. 
We three shall — 


Madam, go and see your son ; 
The sight of him may teach your heart to shun 
The path to which your anger beckons you. 
I'll choose another hour to learn my fate. 
Think how to save him, while you clasp him close. 



Scene 1. 

Hebmioxe, Cleone. 


Yes, he shall see me, since you'll have it so ; 
That pleasure will I grant him once again. 
Soon Pylades will bring him ; but were 1 
To use my judgment, it should not be so. 


What evil lurks there in the sight of him ? 
Say, is he not the same Orestes still 
For whose return you sigh'd a hundred times. 
Whose love and constancy has been the theme 
Of your regret ? 


Paid with ingratitude I 
That love it is which makes his presence here 
Repugnant ; shame for me, triumph for him, 
To see my misery so like his own ! 
Is that the proud Hermione, he'll say, 
Lo, she who scom'd me once herself despised ! 
The wretch who on her heart set price so high 
Learns in her turn the pangs of outraged love * ^ 
Oh, Heav'ns 1 


Dispel these most unworthy fears ; 
Too deeply has he felt your pow'r to charm. 
He comes to urge his love, not to insult. 
He brings a heart from which he cannot blot 
Your image. But you have not told me yet 
What writes your sire. 



K Pvrrhus still delays, 
And if he will not let the Trojan die, 
Mj father bids me with the Greeks depart. 


'Tis well : then hear Orestes. You at least 
May finish that which Pjrrhus has begun ; 
Tou must forestall him to obtain success. 
Have you not told me that you hated him ? 


Hate him, Cleone ? Can just pride do less, 
When he forgets the favour freely giv'n ? 
That heart was treacherous which I leam'd to love ; 
Too dear he was, not to be hated now ! 


Fly from him then, and since you are beloved — 


Ah, let my rage have time to grow more strong ; 

Leave me to guard myself against my foe. 

Cleone, it is terrible to jMirt, 

And he will force me to it but too well, 

The faithless wretch ! 


Wait you for some new wrong ? 
To love his slave, before your very eyes ! 
What more can make him odious, if not that ? 
What greater insult can he offer yet ? 
Had he known how, he would have left undone 
Nothing that could displease you. 


Why provoke 
Fresh torture ? I would fain disguise the truth. 
Try to believe not what your eyes have seen ; / *? ^ 

140 sacine's wqbes. [act ir. 

Think that my love is banished ; give me joy 
That I have conquered, and my heart is steel'd 
Against its weakness. Make me think so too. 
You'ld have me fly ; there's nought to hinder it, 
Let us depart, and leave him to enjoy 
A conquest that degrades him ; to his slave 
Himself submissive. Let us fly ! But what 
If Faith and Duty should reclaim his heart. 
If he should crave his pardon at my feet, 
And Love have pow'r to make him all my own ? 
But no, he only seeks to humble me. 
Yet let lis stay to mar their happiness, 
Finding some pleasure still in spoiling theirs ; 
Or, making him renounce his solemn pledge, 
Eender him guilty in the eyes of Q-reece. 
Already have I drawn upon the son 
Their anger, I would have them ask of him 
The mother too, and so those pangs repay 
Which she has made me feel. Let her lose him. 
Nay, let him cause her death. 


Think you that she. 
Whose eyes run down with tears, can pleasure find 
In trying to supplant you, that, bow'd down 
With grief, she courts her persecutor's love ? 
What signs have shown her anguish soothed thereby ? 
Why is her soul then plunged in misery ? 
Why 'gainst a favour'd lover so severe ? 


Ah, I have lent too credulous an ear 

To faithless vows, and utter'd what I felt. 

I saw no danger in sincerity. 

My eyes unguarded let their secret out. 

And my own heart pleaded his cause too well. 

What woman would not have declared her love. 

As I did, trusting to his solemn oaths ? 

Did his eye scorn me then, as it does now ? 

You cannot but remember all combined 


To aid his suit, — my family avenged. 
The joy of Greece, our vessels charged with spoils 
From Troy, his father's exploits by the son's 
Eclipsed, his passion deem'd to pass my own. 
My heart — ^Yes, and his fame e'en dazzled you ; 
E'er he betray'd me, all of you conspired 
To that same end. Enough ; if Pyrrhus has, 
I have not ceased to feel ; Orestes' heart 
Is noble as his deeds, and he can love 
Without return. — ^Ay, and perhaps can make 
Himself beloved. I'll see him. 


Look, he comes. 


Ah me ! I had not thought he was so nigh. 

Scene 2. 
Hebmione, Obestes, Olbone. 


Sir, shall I think some tender traces left 
Of former Love prompt you to visit me. 
In my distress, or is it Duty's voice. 
And that alone, which urges you to come ? 


Such is the fatal blindness of my heart. 

Known to you well, that I am destined still 

To come, and come again, to worship you. 

In spite of all my vows to come no more. 

To see you will, I know, reopen wounds ; 

Each step that brings me near makes me forsworn ; 

I know it, and I blush thereat. But Heav'n, 

That saw how our last parting wrung my heart, 

Be witness how I strove to free myself. 

142 bacine's wobks. [act ii. 

By certain death, from oath so hard to keep 
Aiid ceaseless torture ; how to savage tribes, 
Whose gods are onlj pleased with hiunaii blood, 
I dffer'd life ; they shut their temple doors, 
Sparing to take such willing sacrifice. 
To you at length I come, and from your eyes 
Must seek the Death that shuns my close pursuit. 
And. their indifference shall end despair ; 
They need but cut the last fond cord of hope 
To bring the fatal hour for which I yearn, 
They need but say what they have said before, — 
Said always. For a year past, that has been 
My only aim : be yours the victim's blood 
That Scythians might have spilt instead of you. 
Had any so relentless there been found. 


Have done. Sir, with these accents of despair ; 

With matters more momentous you are charged. 

Why talk of Scythia, or my cruelty ? 

Think of the many kings you represent. 

And must their vengeance on your transports hang ? 

Is it Orestes' blood that they demand ? 

Discharge the office they imposed on you. 


Pyrrhus refuses, and my task is done. 
Madam, he sends me back. Some other pow'r 
Makes him defend the cause of Hector's son. 


False and forsworn ! 


So, ready to depart. 
My own fate at your lips I come to learn. 
Ere uttei;'d, your reply I think I hear. 
That you detest me in your secret heart. 


What always so unjust? Why will your grief 

8C£NB 2.] ANDROMACHE. 143 

For ever of my enmity complain ? 

How have I shown the harshness that you blame 

So often ? 'Twas obedience to my sire 

That brought me hither ; but who knows if I • 

Have not been sick at heart since then, and shared 

Alarms no less than yours ? I may have shed, 

In this Epirus, bitter tears. And none 

Can say I have not sometimes wish'd you here, 

Despite my duty. 


Wish'd me here ! Oh, joy ! — 
But can it be to me that you address 
These heavenly words ? Open your eyes, and see 
Orestes, upon whom they frown'd so long. 


Yes, you — who first taught them to know their pow'r, 
Whose love with their attractions grew, whose worth 
I could not but esteem, and who have had 
My sighs, and whom indeed I fain would love. 


I understand how hopeless is my lot ; 
Your heart is giv'n to Pyrrhus, and to me 
Vain wishes. 


Ah, you need not envy him, 
Unless you crave my hatred. 


Yes ; for then 
Love well might follow from a source opposed ; 
I cannot please you whom you fain would love. 
But, if you wish'd to hate me, Love alone 
Would be obey'd, and I should win your heart. 
Ye gods ! Such worship, and such tender love — 
Speak they not for me, could you lend an ear ? 
Your voice alone supports a prior claim 
For Pyrrhus, it may be against your will, 

144 bacine's wosks. [act it. 

Against his, certainly ; for in his soul 
He hates you, loves another — 


Who has dared 
To tell you that he scorns me? Have his looks 
And words reveal'd it ? Think you that my eyes 
Can light no lasting fire, but soon must rouse 
Contempt ? Perhaps more favourable judge 
May somewhere else be found. 


'Tis well to taunt 
Me thug ! Am I the one who scorns your charms ? 
Have you not tried my constancy enough ? 
Am I a witness that your eyes lack poVr ? 
Despise them ? Ah, how ghidly would they see 
My rival so despise them as do I ! 


What care I, Sir, whether he loves or hates ? 
Go, and against a rebel arm all Greece ; 
Pay him the price of disobedience ; 
Go, let them make this land a second Troy ! 
Will you say now, my heart is giVn to him ? 


Madam, do more, and come to Greece yourseK. 
Will you remain here as a hostage ? Come ; 
To every heart let your fair eyes appeal, 
Till common hatred prompts our joint attack. 


What if he wed Andromache meanwhile ? 


Madam ! 


What deep disgrace must then be mine^ 
To have this Phrygian woman hold my pUce ! 



And yet you hate, him ! Madam, own the truth ; 
We cannot shut Love's fires within the breast, 
Our very eyes betray us, — silence, speech ; 
And fires we hide in vain burst forth more fierce. 


Your mind is prepossessed, I see it well, 

And spreads a deadly venom o'er my words. 

In every argument detects deceit, 

And thinks my hatred prompted by my love. 

I must explain myself, and you shall act 

Accordingly. You know 'twas Duty led 

My footsteps hither, and detains me here ; 

I cannot leave till lyrrhus or my sire 

Compel me. Make my father understand 

The foe of Greece will form no msxriage bond 

With us ; between the Trojan and myself 

Make Fyrrhus choose, which he will keep, and which 

Dismiss. Farewell. I wait but his consent 

To follow you. 

Scene 3. 


Yes, you wiU follow me. 
No doubt of that. Already his consent 
Is sure, nor need I fear that Pyrrhus wants 
To keep you, for he has no eyes forsooth 
Save for his dear Andromache, all else 
Irksome, and seeks some pretext that may part 
Himself and you. One word, and all is done ! 
What joy to rob Epirus of a prize 
So rare ! Troy's relics she may save, and keep 
Unharm'd brave Hector's widow and his son, 
And thousand others ; 'tis enough for me, 
That, ne'er again to see thee or thy prince, 
Hermione departs. 


Good Fortune briDgs 
Him hither. To such charms. Love, close his eyes. 
While we hold converse. 

Scene 4i, 
Pybehtjs, Obestes, Fhobnix. 


I have sought you, Sir, 
To own that in a fit of violence 
I fought against your reasons. Since I went, 
Their justice and their force have shown themselves. 
I feel, like you, that I have thwarted Greece, 
My father's efforts, and, indeed, my own, 
In aiding Troy, frustrating all achieved 
Both by Achilles and myself ; nor now 
Do I condemn resentment which was based 
On solid ground. Tour victim soon shall be 
At your disposal. 


By this firm resolve, 
Prudent as firm, a caitiff's blood buys peace. 


And to assure you further, I consent 
To wed Hermione, the pledge of peace 
For ever. Such a pleasing spectacle 
Can have no better witness here than you. 
Who represent all Greece, and most her sire. 
For in yourself his brother lives again. 
Go to her, tell her that to-morrow mom 
I will receive her at your hands with peace. 

OBESTES (aside). 
Great gods ! 

SC£N£ 5.] ANDROMACHE. 147 

Scene 5. 
Pykbhus, Ph(enix. 


Well, Phoenix, has Love won the day ? 
Say, do your eyes refuse to know me still ? 


I see you as you were ; that righteous wrath 
Eestores you to the Greeks and to yourself. 
No more the plaything of a servile flame, 
'Tie Pyrrhus, 'tis Achilles* son, and more' 
His rival, who at last obeys the laws 
Of honour, and a second Hxiumph wins 
O'er Troy. 


Say rather that my victory 
Begins to-day when I can feel its joy 
And my heart, lifted from its low estate, - 
Seems to have triumphed o'er a thousand foes 
In crushing love. Think, Phoenix, what a host 
Of troubles I avoid that follow close 
On passion ; how content to sacrifice 
Duty and friendship, danger I despised, 
Courting destruction from the arms of Greece, 
Might I but win a single look of love. 


I bless, my lord, the kind severity 
Which gives you back — 


See how she treated me ! 
I thought that, when the mother's fears were roused. 
She would have yielded for her infant's sake, 
Disarm'd by his caresses, but I found 
No signs of weakness mingled with her tears. 

148 kacinb's works. [act ii. 

Embitter'd by her woes, more fierce she seem'd 

Each time the name of Hector pass*d her lips. 

Oft as I promised to protect her son, 

" 'Tis Hector," she would say, as in her arms 

She held him, " his those eyes, that mouth, the heart 

Already bold. My husband I embrace 

In this his image." Does she think that I 

Will let her keep him thus to feed her love 

For Hector? 


Such were doubtless the return 
That she would make. But leave her now. 


I see 
How consciousness of beauty flatters her, 
And makes her proudly wait, despite my wrath, 
To see me at her knees. Sather at mine 
ril see her crouch in vain ; eternal hate 
Parts Hector's widow and Achilles' son ! 


Then speak of her no more to me, my liege. 
Go, see Hermione ; and at her feet 
Be your sole thought her pleasure, and forget 
What's past. Prepare her for the nuptial rites 
Yourself, nor to a rival leave that task 
Who loves her but too well. 


Think you will she 
Be jealous if I wed Hermione ? 


What, harping on the Trojan woman still ! 
What matters it to you if vex'd or glad ? 
What spell attracts you tow'rds her, in despite 
Of your own will ? 



I have not told her all 
I meant to say ; I show'd but half the rage 
I feel ; she knows not what a bitter foe 
She has in me. Let us return and flout 
Her vengeance, to my hatred give full scope, 
And see her pride and beauty in the dust. 


Go and cast yourself before her, Sir, 
Go swear that in your heart you love her still. 
And so encourage her to scorn you more ! 


I see you think my heart, ready to find 
Excuses, hankers after her, and seeks 


Yes, you love her. That's enough. 


Love her, forsooth, who hates me all the more. 

The more she's flatter'd ! Friendless, with no hope 

But over me ! A stranger, ay, a slave ! 

I can destroy her son, perhaps I ought. 

To her I give that son, myself, my throne ; 

And in her treacherous heart can gain no rank 

Better than that of persecutor ! No, 

No, I have sworn it, my revenge is sure. 

And shall for once her hatred justify ; 

Her infant I abandon, let her shed 

What tears she may, call me whatever name 

Anguish can prompt ! Ah, what a sight, to-day. 

Her eyes will see ! Phoenix, 'twill be her death, 

And I shall cause it, yea, myself shall hold f ^ Q 

The dagger to her breast ! 

160 BACINB's works. [act III. 


Why blazon it 
Abroad ? Too highly did you rate your strength 
Some hours ago. 


Pardon the tenderness 
Of an old wound. You need not fear it, matched 
With my resentment ; 'tis the final spark 
Of love extinct. Til follow your advice : 
Must I give up her son, and must I see 
The princess ? 


Yes, Sire ; and with humble vows 
Assure her — 


What I promised, I'll perform. 


Scene 1. 
Obestes, Pylades. 


My friend, restrain this most imprudent rage : 
You are no more yourself, I know you not. 
Let me — 


No, no, your counsel comes too late, 

The voice of Beason only wearies me. 
I must cut short the torture of this life, 
ril bear her hence, or perish. My resolve 
Is taken, and I'll execute the same : 
Yes, that I wiU. 



By all means be it so ; 
I sanction tliat. But, still, think where you are ; 
To show your hand is but to court defeat ; 
Learn to disguise your feelings, calm your rage ; 
Bid your eyes keep the secret of your heart. 
These guards, these very waUs, each breath of air 
Serve !ryrrhus, and yet more Hermione ; 
Hide your resentment with most care from her. 
Why did you seek her, in the name of Heav'n, 
In sueh a state ? 


I knew not what I did ; 
Mastered by rage, I may have gone so far 
As to vent open threats against them both. 


And what fruit did that fit of passion bear? 


Was not the blow sufficient to distract 
The coolest, and drive reason from her seat ? 
To-morrow he will wed Hermione, 
And from my hand receive her, as a mark 
Of honour. Sooner may it with his blood — 


You blame him for a purpose he pursues 
In desperation. Bather, pity him 
As I do you : his tortures are as great. 


Nay, I. know well, he laughs at my despair ; 
He scorn'd her till he knew her loved by me. 
Her charms were lost upon him but for that ; 
He takes her but to tear her from my arms. 
Gods ! when already I had deem'd her won. 
Prepared to leave lus sight for evermore ; 
Her heart, divided between love and hate, 

152 eacine's wobks. [act hi. 

But waited his refusal to become 
My own. Her eyes were open'd, and her ears 
Hearken'd to me with pity. One word more. 
And sure success. 


You think so ? 


Ay, her wrath 
Was hot against the wretch. 


Never more loved ! 
Had Pyrrhus giVn her up, do you suppose 
No other pretext would have held her back ? 
Let not her charms beguile you more, but fly 
From her for ever, rather than attempt 
To carry off a Fury who detests 
Your love, and would embitter all your life 
With vain regret, having so nearly gained 
Her dearest object. 


'Tis that very thought 
Urges me on. All things would smile on her. 
And nought but bootless rage be mine, compelPd 
To seek oblivion far from her, once more 
An exile. No, those torments she must share 
Which I have borne too long alone. Enough 
Of being pitied. She shall, in her turn, 
Feel what it is to fear me, weep with woe. 
And call me cruel, e'en as I did her ! 


Thus as a ravisher Orestes crowns 
His embassy ! 


What matter, Pylades ? 
Greece shall not wreak revenge at my expense, 
Nor an ungrateful princess mock my tears. 


How will our country's praises profit me. 

When jeer'd at in Epirus as a fool? 

What would you ? To confess the truth, I feel 

My innocence a heavy load to bear. 

When did the gods before prove so perverse 

As to pursue the guiltless, and leave crime 

Unpunish'd ? Wheresoe'er I turn my eyes, 

I see around me troubles that condemn 

Their justice. Let me earn their wrath, deserve 

Their hatred, eat the fruit if I must pay 

The penalty of crime. But why draw down 

Their anger on yourself, when aimed at me ? 

My friendship has procured you harm enough ; 

Leave me alone to guilt and misery. 

Dear Pylades, your pity warps your sense ; 

Avoid the dangers that encompass me. 

Convey to Greece the infant given up 

By Pjrrhus. Go ! 


We'll carry off his bride ! 
A brave heart faces peril without fear. 
Where love leads, friendship follows, and can act 
As boldly. Let us arm your company 
With zeal ; our fleet is ready, and the breeze 
Invites us. Every winding passage dark 
I know ; the sea washes these palace walls. 
And by a secret way this very night 
Your prize shall be conducted to your ship. 


Dear friend, I trespass on your love too far ; 
Those griefs, that you alone could pity, beg 
Forgiveness for a wretch, who loses all 
He sets his heart on ; hated by the world 
He hates himself. But under happier stars 
I, in my turn, — 


Do not betray yourself ; 
Before the blow conceal your purpose, that 

154 bacine's works. [act iil 

Is all I ask ; till then forget your wrongs, 
Forget your love. But see, she comes. 


Answer for her as I will for myseK. 

Go, f rien<L 

Scene 2. 
Hebmione, Obestes, Cleone. 


Well, Madam, you have won, thanks to my care : 
I have seen Pyrrhus, and your marriage now 
WiU soon take place. 


So I am told, and you 
Were seeking me that I might be prepared. 


And will you not reject these tardy vows ? 


Who would have fancied Pyrrhus faithful still ? 
That passion could have been delay'd so long 
From bursting into flame, and its return 
Should linger till I was about to leave him ? 
I'll think with you, 'tis Greece he dreads ; not love 
But prudence moves him ; o*er your soul my eyes 
Had pow'r more absolute. 


No, no ; 'tis love, 
I cannot doubt it ; and your eyes have wrought 
All that they wish-d, nor would displease him now. 



What can I do, Sir, when my faith is pledged ? 


Rob him of what it was not I who gave ? 
The star that rules a princess is not love. 
No other glory than obedience left 
For her. Yet I was going, and you saw 
How I made duty yield to your desire. 


Ah, cruel one, you knew — But every heart 
Is free to follow its own choice, and yours 
Was at your own disposal ; and if giv'n, 
I had no right to claim it as my own. 
And yet I hoped ; but Fortune more than you 
I blame, and why should I your patience try 
With vain complaints ? Act as your duty bids. 
Mine is to spare you words of sad reproach. 

Scene 3. 
Hebmione, Cleone. 


Did you expect his wrath to be so mild ? 


A silent sorrow need not be for that 

Less fatal. As the cause of his own woe 

I pity him the more ; 'tis his own stroke 

That slays him. How long has your marriage been 

In preparation ? When Orestes spoke, 

Pyrrhus declared himself. 


You think 'tis fear? 
Fear ! And of whom ? Those who for twice five years 
Fled before Hector, and, Achilles lost, 
Crouch'd in alarm within their burning ships. 
And who, but for his son, would have left Troy 
Unpunish'd, and forgone a fruitless quest ! 

156 bacinb's woeks. [act in. 

Whj should lie fight against himself? Whate'er 

He does, he wishes ; if he marries me, 

He loves me. Let Orestes, if he will, 

Charge me with all his sorrows, better cheer 

Awaits me than his sighs. Pyrrhus returns ! 

Ah, dear Cleone, what a rapturous thought ! 

Know you his exploits ? Have you heard them told, 

Too many to be number'd ? And himself, 

So brave, so charming, and so faithful too 

As shown at last, his glory nothing lacks. 



Hide your feelings ! Look, your rival comes, 
To cast her troubles, doubtless, at your feet. 


Ah, 'tis too soon to check this flood of joy ! 
Let us begone ; what should I say to her ? 

Scene 4. 
Andromache, Hebmione, Cleone, Cephissa. 


Why fly you. Madam ? Is it not a sight 
To please you, Hector's widow at your knees, 
Weeping ? But not with tears of jealousy 
I come, nor do I envy you the heart 
Surrender'd to your charms. A cruel hand 
Bobb'd me of him whom only I admired. 
Love's flame was lit by Hector long ago, 
With him it was extinguish' d in the tomb. 
But he has left a son. Some day you'll know 
How closely to one's heart a son can cling ; 
But you will never know, I wish it not, . 
How keen the pang when danger threatens him, 
And they would take him from you, all that's left 
To soothe a blighted heart. Ah, when worn out 


With ten long years of woe, the Trojans sought 
Your mother's life, on Hector I prevaiPd 
To succour her. O'er Pyrrhus you have pow'r 
As I had then o'er Hector. Can they dread 
The infant he has left ? Him let me hide 
In some far distant isle. And they may trust 
My fears to keep him there, taught but to weep 
With me. 


I feel for you, but duty holds 
My tongue tied, when my sire declares his will • 
It is by him that Pyrrhus' wrath is stirr'd. 
But who can bend him better than yourself ? 
His soul has long been subject to your eyes ; 
Make him pronounce the word, and I'll consent. 

Scene 5. 

Andromache, Oephissa. 

andromache. . 
How scornfully did she refuse my prayer ! 


Accept her counsel. See him, as she says : 
One look of yours may Greece and her confound- 
But, look, he seeks you of his own accord. 

Scene 6. 
Pyrrhus, Andromache, Ph<enix, Cephissa. 


Where is the princess ? Said you not that she 
Was here ? 

158 bacine's works. [act hi. 


I thought so. 


Now you see what pow'r 
My eyes have over him ! 


What says she ? 



Is lost! 


Hermione is gone, and we 
Will follow. 


Speak ! Why obstinately dumb ? 


Has he not promised them my child ? 


But not 
0-iven him up. 


Vain are my tears, his death 
Is certain. 


How her pride disdains to look 

My way ! 


I should but irritate him more. 
Let us retire. 


Come, Hector's son shall be 
Yielded to Greece. 


ANDROMACHE (throwing herself at his feet). 

Stop, Sire. What will you do ? 
Give up the son ? Why not the mother then? 
Where is the kindness that you swore to me 
So lately ? Can I touch no chord at least 
Of pity r Does this sentence bar all hope 
Of pardon ? 


Phoenix knows my word is pledged. 


No dangers were too great for you to brave 
On my behalf ! 


Blind then, I now can see. 
Your wishes might have won his pardon once ; 
You ne'er so much as ask'd it. Now you come 
Too late. 


Full well you understood, my lord. 
The sigh that fear'd repulse. Forgive the trace 
Of pride, that died not with my royal rank, 
And made me shrink from importimity. 
My lord, you know, had it not been for you, 
Andromache would never have embraced 
A master's knees. 


No, in your secret soul 
You hate me, scorn to owe me anything. 
This son, the only object of your care. 
You would have loved him less, had he been saved 
Thro' me. You hate me with a bitter scorn, 
You hate me more than all the Greeks together. 
Enjoy at leisure such a noble rage. 
Come, Phoenix. 


I will go where Hector's gone. 

160 SACINE's WOBKS. [act III. 


Madam — 


What further can I say to him ? 
The author of my woes, he knows them all. 
{To PTRRHTJs.) See to what state you have reduced me. 

I've seen my father slain, our walls enwrapt 
In flames, and all our family cut off. 
My husband's bloody corpse dragg'd thro* the dust. 
His only son reserved for chains with me. 
For his sake I endure to live a slave. 
Yea, more, this thought has sometimes brought relief. 
That Fate has fix'd my place of exile here ; 
The son of many kings beneath your sway 
Is happier as a slave than he could be 
Elsewhere, and I had hoped his prison walls 
Might be a place of refuge. Priam found 
Achilles could respect his fallen state ; 
I thought his son more generous still. That trust. 
My Hector, pardon, when I deem'd thy foe 
Too noble to commit a dastard's crime ! 
Ah, would he but allow us to abide 
Where for thine ashes I have raised a tomb, 
And, ending there his hatred and our woes, 
Divide us not from thy beloved remains ! 


Go, and await me, Phoenix. 

Scene 7. 
Ptrrhus, Andromache, Cephissa. 


Madam, stay. 
Your tears may yet win back this cherish'd son. 
Yes, I regret that, moving you to weep. 

8CE17E 8.] AKBBOICACHB. 161 

I ann*d you with a weapon 'gainst myself ; 

I thought I could have brought morQ hatred here. 

You might at least consent to look at me : 

See, are my eyes those of an angry judge, 

Whose pleasure 'tis to cause you misery ? 

Why force me to be faithless to yourself ? 

Now for your son's sake let us cease to hate. 

'Tis I who urge you, save the child from death. 

Must sighs of mine beg you to spare his life ? 

And must I clasp your Imees to plead for him ? 

Once more, but once, save him and save yourself. 

I know what solemn vows for you I break. 

What hatred I bring down upon myself. 

Hermione shall go, and on her brow 

For crown I set a burning brand of shame : 

And in the fane deck'd for her marriage rites 

Her royal diadem yourself shall wear. 

This offer, lady, is no longer one 

You can afford to scorn. Perish or reign ! 

A year's contempt has made me desperate. 

Nor can I any longer live in doubt, 

Harassed by fears and mingling threats with groans. 

To lose you is to die, — 'tis death to wait. 

I leave you to consider, and will come 

To bring you to the temple where this child 

My fury shall destroy before your eyes. 

Or where in love I crown you as my queen. 

Scene 8. 
Andbomache, Cefhissa. 


Is't not as I foretold ? In spite of Greece, 
You are still mistress of your destiny. 


Alas, that it should be as you have said ! 
I have no choice but to condemn my son. 
I. M 

162 baoinb's wosks. [a.ct rri. 


That were to stretch fideKty too far. 
Excess of virtue may be fraught with guilt. 
Hector himself would urge a milder course. 


Pyrrhus in Hector's place ! I loathe the thought. 


Think of his son, torn from your arms by force ; 
More than aught else his shade would blush at that. 
It would not shame him that your conqueror 
Should reinstate you in your royal rank, 
Trample your foes beneath his feet in wrath. 
Forget that fierce Achilles was his sire, 
And frustrate all his exploits. 


How can I 
Cease to remember them, tho* he forget? 
Hector's unburied corpse, dishonour'd, dra^'d 
Aroxmd the walls of Troj ? His father slam 
Before mine eyes, and grasping as he fell 
The altar stain'd with his own blood ? That night. 
That cruel night, think how its horrors broMgrht 
Eternal night to Troy ! Eecall the look 
Of Pyrrhus, crossing in the lurid light 
Our burning threshold ; how his eyeballs glared, 
My fallen brothers spum'd beneath his tread, 
Kindling the carnage, dyed from head to foot 
With gore ! Canst hear the victor's shouts, the groans 
From dying lips, as fire and sword rush on ? 
Canst see An<£romache's despair, and how 
Pyrrhus confronts her with those frightful deeds 
Wherewith he won his glory ? There behold 
The husband you would give me ! No, my friend, 
I will not be th' accomplice of his crimes. 
His latest victim let him make of me. 
And I without a murmur will submit. 

80BNE 8.] ANDBOMACHB. 163 


Then let us go and see your son expire ; 
Your presence only do they wait for. How 
You shudder ! 


Yes, remembrance sends a pang 
That pierces deep. What I See him perish too, 
My only joy, on whom my Hector stamp'd 
His image, token of the love I lost ! 
Ah me ! I call to mind the day he sought 
Achilles, fatal day for him. He press'd 
His boy to his courageous heart, and said. 
Drying my tears, — " Dear wife, I know not how 
Pate may decide the fight to which I go. 
I leave you this my son, a faithful pledge ; 
And should he lose his father, be to him 
Pather and mother both ; if you hold dear 
The happiness we shared, then show to him 
How much you loved me." Shall that precious blood 
Be shed before my eyes, his line extinct 
With him ? Ah, cruel King, must my offence 
Be counted his ? He has not hated tibec 
Nor yet reproach'd thee with his kinsmen's death, 
Eesenting not the ills he cannot feel. 
Yet thou must die, my son, unless I turn 
The sword aside that hangs above thy head. 
The choice is mine ; and shall I let it fall? 
No, never can I suffer thee to die. 
Let us find Pyrrhus. No, Cephissa, go. 
Find him for me. 


What shall I say to him? 


Tell him a mother loves her son enough — 
But has he sworn indeed to slay the child ? 
Can passion make F^rrhus so merciless ? 


Madam, in fury he will soon return. 

164 bacike's works. [act iv. 

Then go, assure him — 


Of your faith, or what ? 


Alas ! have I that promise still to give ? 
O ashes of my husband and my sire ! 
How dearly must I buy thy life, my son ! 
Come, let us go. 


Whither ? With what resolve ? 


To Hector's tomb, ther^ to consult his will. 


Scene 1. 
Andbomache, Cephissa. 


My lady, 'tis your husband, doubt it not ; 
'Tis Hector works this miracle in you ! 
Surely he wishes Troy should rise again 
Under that son whose life he bids you guard. 
Pyrrhus has promised you the boy. Just now 
You heard him say he waits but for your word 
To make him yours ; and you may trust his love. 
Your heart contents him ; father, sceptre, friends. 
He recks them not, if you will reign o'er him 
And o'er his people. Does he then deserve 
Hatred ? Indignant, he confronts the Greeks, 
And pities the poor babe no less than you, 


Guards him from outrage, and withstands their rage, 
Exposing his own life to shelter his. 
But all is ready. You have promised — 


I will be there. Let ns go see my son. 


Why in such haste ? No one forbids you now 

To visit him ; therewith be satisfied, 

And soon your tenderness shall have full scope 

In many a fond and unrestrained caress. 

Will it not bring you joy to rear your babe 

No longer for a life of slavery. 

But to revive the glories of lus line ? 


Cephissa, 'tis the last time I shall see 
My child. 


Why, what is this ? 


my dear friend. 
With whom my soul should wear no mask, for you 
Have proved in all my trouble Mthf ul still, 
I hoped you knew me better than to deem 
Myself so faithless found as to betray 
The husband who within my heart survives. 
That, caring not how much I vex'd the dead, 
I should think only of my own repose. 
Is that to keep my promise made so oft 
To Hector's ashes ? But I am obliged 
To save his son. Pyrrhus, on wedding me, 
Vows to protect him, — I may trust his word. 
I know his nature, violent but sincere ; 
He will do more, Cephissa, than he said. 
And I rely too on the wrath of Greece, 
Her hatred will on Hector's son bestow 

166 racinb's works. [act iv. 

A father. Since a victim is Tequired 

I will assure to Pyrrhus all that's left 

Of life to me, and by most sacred bonds 

Indissolubly bind him to my boy. 

But straightway shall this hand with fatal stroke 

Sever the chord of life no longer true, 

And so preserve me stainless, and yet pay 

Pyrrhus his due, nor fail in what I owe 

To son and husband, ay, and to myself. 

This is the harmless plot my love suggests. 

Or rather Hector's spirit. So, alone, 

Him and my sires I join. Close you mine eyes. 


Ah, if you die, think not that I will live. 


Nay, I forbid you, friend, to follow me. 

My only treasure to your care I trust : 

You lived for me, live now for Hector's son. 

Sole guardian of the hopes of faUen Troy, 

Her royal line requires your constant care. 

Watch Pyrrhus well, and make him keep his faith ; 

If he shall need it, speak to him of me. 

Eemind him I consented to be his 

Before my death, teach him to prize that bond 

And blot out all resentment from his soul ; 

That, leaving him my son, I show'd how much 

I valued him. And to that son make known 

The heroes of his race ; direct his steps 

To follow them ; tell him of all their fame. 

Of what they did rather than what they were. 

Dwell on his father's virtues day by day. 

And sometimes whisper of a mother's love. 

But of avenging me he must not dream ; 

His master's friendship let him strive to win. 

Begarding his high birth with modesty, 

Let him remember, tho' of Hector's blood, 

Troy lives in him alone ; and for his sake, 

In one day, I lay down life, hatred, love I 





You must not come with me, unless 
Your neart is braye and can command your tears. 
Cephissa, dry your eyes. I hear a step. 
Eemember your great trust. Hermione 
Approaches ; let us shun her violence. 

Scene 2. 
Hebmione^ Cleone. 


This silence, Madam, fills me with surprise ; 
You utter not a word ; this cruel slight 
Seems not to ruffle your tranquillity ! 
Tamely you suffer such a rude rebuff 
Who shudder'd but to hear your rival's name ! 
You who could scarce endure without despair 
The passing glance that Pyrrhus cast on her ! 
He weds her, makes her partner of his throne, 
And plights the troth so lately giv'n to you ; 
Yet still your lips are dumb, your tongue disdains 
T* upbraid the traitor with deserved reproach ! 
I fear what such a fatal calm forebodes ! 
Jt would be better far — 


You sent for him» 
Is it not so? 


Orestes will be here. 
And, as you may believe, will place himself 
Wholly at your disposal, without hope 
Of recompense. Your eyes are sure enough 
To charm him. See, he enters. 

168 BA.CINB'8 WOBKS. [act IV. 

Scene 3. 
Obestes, Hebmione, Cleoke. 


Can it be 
That I, for once, in seeking you obey 
Your bidding, or has false hope flatter'd me ? 
Have you indeed wish'd me to come to you ? ' 

Shall I belieye your eyes, at last disarmed, ' 



I would know whether you love me, Sir. 


Love you ! Great gods ! My vows too hard to keep, 
My flight, return, reverence that curb'd reproach. 
My dark despair, my eyes all drown'd in tears : 
What witness will you, if you trust not these ? 


I trust them all ; avenge me. 


Let us go. 
My mistress, and once. more set G-reece on fire. 
This arm shall make your name renown'd ; and you 
Shall rival Helen, I the King of Men. 
Let us revive the miseries of Troy 
Here in Epirus, and our fathers' fame 
Eclipse. Yes, I am ready ; let us start. 


No, let us stay, nor carry these afEronts 
So far. What ! crown the insults of my foes. 
And wait elsewhere to wreak a slow revenge ! 
Besign myself to the arbitrament of war, 
That after all might fail to vindicate 


Mj wrongs ! I will have aJl Epirus weep 
'Wlien I depart. Avenge me in an hour» 
Or not at all. Delay, — and you refuse. 
Haste to the temple. You must slay — 


Ay, whom ? 




The King? 


Your hatred hesitates ? 
Bun quickly thither, lest I call you back. 
Speak not of duties I wotdd fain forget, 
Nor will I hear a word in his defence, 
And least from you. 


From me ! Your tenderness 
Has stamp'd his crime too deeply on my soul. 
Let us take vengeance, but by other means. 
Become his foes, but not his murderers ; 
And with the arms of justice ruin him. 
Shall I for answer to the Greeks bring back 
His head ? And have I taken on myself 
This charge from them, to turn assassin? No. 
In Heaven's name let Greece the challenge meet, 
And crushed beneath her hatred let him die. 
The name of king is sacred, and the brow — 


Is not my sentence then enough for you ? 
That my offended dignity demands 
A victim to be offer'd to myself ? 
That if you quell the tyrant you shall have 
Me for reward ? That I hate him whom once 
I loved. Yes, I confess it, he knew how 
To win my heart ; whether my father's will 
Or inclination moved me matters not. 

170 BAcnrs's works. [act iv. 

Act on that knowledge. Tho' lie broke his vows, 
Tho' with just horror I regard his crime, 
Yet, while he lives, fear I may still foi^ve. 
Distrust my wavering wrath, till death removes 
The monster. For unless he dies to-day, 
To-morrow I may love him. 


Then must death 
Prevent his pardon. How shall I proceed ? 
Can I so soon avenge your injuries ? 
Where lies the path that leads him to his doom ? 
I have but just set foot upon this soil. 
And you would have me overturn the State, 
And slay the King ; and for his punishment 
You grant me but a day ; no, not an hour. 
It must be done before his people's eyes ; 
My victim to the altar shall be brought. 
No longer I demur, I will but go 
And view th' appointed place of sacrifice : 
This night I do your bidding, and he dies ! 


Meanwhile to-day he weds Andromache ; 

Already in the shrine his throne is set. 

His crime accomplish'd, and my shame confirm'd. 

Why should you wait? He offers you his life ; 

No guards attend him to this festival. 

He makes them all encircle Hector's son. 

And gives himself to my avenger's arm. 

Will you then of his life take greater care 

Than he does ? Arm my followers, with your Greeks ; 

Stir up your friends ; on mine you may rely. 

Me he betrays, fools you, and scorns us all. 

Surely their hatred is as great as mine. 

The Trojan woman's husband loath to spare. 

Speak, and my foe cannot escape your hands. 

Or rather they will strike him dead themselves. 

Lead or be led by this their noble rage ; 

Dyed with the faithless wretch's blood, return ; 

Thus only can you gain my heart. Now go. 



But, Madam, think — 


This really passes bounds, 
Your scruples grate upon my angry mood. 
I show the way to win Hermione, 
And make Orestes happy ; but I see 
He will do nought to earn her, only whine 
For ever. Go ; boast of your constancy 
Elsewhere, and leave me to avenge myself. 
My weak concessions fill my soul with shame. 
One day of such refusals is too much. 
When all is ready for the marriage rite. 
And where you dare not venture, I will go 
Alone, find means t' approach my enemy, 
And stab the heart I could not touch with love. 
Then shall my blood-stain'd hands, tum'd on myself* 
Unite our destiny in spite of him : 
And, traitor tho' he be, 'twill be more sweet 
For me to die with him than live with you. 


No, I will rob you of that dismal joy ; 
He shall not die but by Orestes' hind. 
Yes, by my arm your enemies shall fall, 
And you shall then reward me, if you will. 


Go. Leave your future fortune in my care 
Let all your ships be ready for our flight. 

Scene 4. 


Think, Madam, ere your ruin you invoke — 

172 baoinb's WOBK8. [act ir. 


Ruin or no, I mean to have revenge. 

I doubt, whatever promises be made. 

The trust reposed on others than myself : 

The guilt of Pyrrhus does not scorch his eyes 

As it does mine ; my stroke would be more sure. 

To be my own avenger would be sweet, 

To stain this fair arm with the traitor's blood. 

And, to increase my pleasure and his pain, 

To hide my rival from his dying gaze ! 

What if Orestes fail to let him know 

He dies a victim sacrificed to me ! 

Go, find and tell him to inform the wretch 

He owes his death to me, and not to Greece. 

Run, dear deone, my revenge is balk'd. 

If he should die imconscious that his doom 

Proceeds from me. 


I will obey you. — ^Ah ! 
What do I see ? Who would have fancied it ? 
The King himself ! 


Follow Orestes straight. 
He must do nought till he sees me again ! 

Scene 5. 
Pybbhits, Hebmione, Ph(ENIX. 


You are surprised that I should seek you here, 
And my approach disturbs your colloquy. 
I do not come arm'd with unworthy wiles. 
No feign'd excuse shall gloss the wrong I do : 
My heart condemns me with no doubt&l voice, 
Nor can I urge a plea I know is false. 
I wed a Trojan woman. Yes, I own 
The faith I plight to her was giv*n to you. 


I might remmd j<m that our fathers form'd 

These ties at Troy without oonsalting us, 

And we were bound together by no love 

Or choice of ours ; but 'tis enough for me 

That I submitted. Mj ambassaidors 

Made you the promise of my heart and hand ; 

So far from wishing to revoke the pledge, 

I willingly confirm'd it ; you, with them, 

Came hither, and, altho' another eye 

Already had subdued me and forestall'd 

Your swq,y, that passion did not make me pause. 

And I resolved still to be true to you. 

I welcomed you as queen, and, till this day, 

I thought my oath would hold the place of love. 

But love prevailed, and, by a fatal stroke, 

Andromache has won the heart she hates : 

Each drawn by th' other in our own despite. 

We hasten to the altar, there to swear 

Union for ever. Blame me as you may 

For traitor, tho' a willing one I grieve 

To prove defaulter ; nor do I presume 

To check the just resentment that relieves 

Myself as much as you. Call me forsworn, 

I fear your silence more than your reproach ; 

Wrung by the secret witness in my heart. 

The less you say the more I feel my guilt. 


Sir, this confession, stripp'd of all deceit, 
Shows that at least you to yourself are just ; 
And, tho* resolved to snap this solenm tie, 
Crime makes you in your own eyes criminal. 
Yet, after all, why should a conqueror stoop 
To common honesty that keeps its word ? 
No, perfidy for you has secret charms ; 
You seek me but to glory in your shame ; 
TJnhinder'd by your duty or your oath, 
A maid of Greece and then a dame of Troy 
Attract yout fickle fancy, flying off, 
Returning, and then leaving me once more ; 
Crowning in turn the princess and the slave. 

174 sacinb's works. [act tv. 

Making Troy bow to Greecse, and Qreeoe to Troy ! 

Thus acts a heart that's master of itself, 

Heroic, and no slave of promises 1 

Your bride might be displeased were I to stint 

Such honey'd terms as wretch and perjurer. 

You came to look whether my face were pale, 

And then to mock my sorrow ia her arms. 

You would be glad if I woidd follow her 

In tears ; but one day has brought joy enough. 

You need not seek new titles to renown, 

Those that you have may well suffice your greed, 

The ag^d sire of Hector smitten down 

Dying before the eyes of all his kin. 

While your sword, thrust into his feeble heart. 

Seeks the few frozen drops that linger there ; 

Troy all in flames, plunged in a sea of blood ; 

Your hand too cut Folyzena's fair throat, 

A cruel sight that Greece herseK condemned. 

Such glorious deeds claim fit acknowledgment. 


I know full well to what excess of rage 
Eevenge for Helen's rape transported me : 
To you, her child, I might impute the blood 
That I have shed ; but be the past forgot. 
I thank high Heaven that your indifference 
Sanctions a happier passion in my breast. 
My heart, too ready to torment itself. 
Should know you better, and excuse its change. 
Madam, I did you wrong to feel remorse ; 
Can one be faithless who was never loved? 
You have not tried to keep me bound to you : 
Fearing to injure, it may be that I 
Serve you. No sympathy unites our hearts ; 
'Twas duty that I follow'd, as did you : 
You never loved me in reality. 


I never loved you ! What then did I do ? 
For you our native princes I despised. 

SCENE 6.] ▲IfBBOMA.CHB. 175 

Sought you mjself in your remotest realms ; 

Still am I here, tho* you have proved untrue, 

And all my Greeks my "weakness view with shame. 

I have commanded them to hide my wrongs ; 

In secret I awaited your return 

To duty ; trusting, whether soon or late, 

You would bring back a heart I claim'd as mine. 

I loved you tho* inconstant ; could I more 

If faithful found ? E'en while your cruel lips 

Calmly announce the death of all my hopes, 

I doubt if I have ceased to love you yet. 

But if it must be so, and Heav'n in wrath 

Beserves for other eyes the pow*r to charm. 

Complete this marriage ; but at least refrain 

Prom forcing me to witness my disgrace. 

listen, for this may be my last appeal ; 

Let one day pass, to-morrow you shall wed — 

You answer nought ? Ah, faithless wretch, 'tis clear 

You count those moments lost you spend with me ! 

Impatient your enchantress to behold 

Once more, you grudge with others to converse : 

With her your heart inspires each word, each look. ♦ 

Escape where you are free, I hold you not 

From going ; swear as you have sworn to me. 

Oo, and profane the majesty of Heav'n, 

The justice of the gods, who'll ne'er forget 

How those same oaths have bound you to myself. 

Haste, to their altars take that perjured heart ; 

There dread to meet Hermione once more. 

Scene 6. 
Pybbhus, PncBirrx. 


My lord, you heard her : be upon your guard, 
Beware the vengeance of a baffled love 
Inflamed to fury, arm'd with the support 

176 bacikb'b wobks. [act v. 

Of Greece that is the champion of her cause : 
Orestes loves her still, perchance that prize — 


Andromache awaits me. Guard her son ! 


Scene 1. 


Where am I ? and what is it I have done ? 
What yet remains ? What rage possesses me ? 
How thro' these halls I roam irresolute. 
Devoured with grief, and know not if I love 
Or hate ! His eye at parting seem'd to freeze 
My soul, nor did he ever feign to pity ; 
No, not a moment's tenderness or sorrow ; 
His heart refused to grant a single groan. 
Deaf to my sighs, 'mid all my anguish calm. 
My tears awoke no sympathy in him. 
And yet I mourn his loss ! And for a crown 
Of sorrow, still this weak heart throbs for him. 
I tremble at the blow so soon to fall. 
Forget revenge, and almost pardon him ! 
But no, my sentence shall not be revoked : 
Perish the traitor, since he's dead to me ! 
Triumphantly he laughs my wrath to scorn, 
And thinks this tempest will dissolve in tear«i. 
That, always feeble and irresolute. 
With one hand I'll ward off the other's blows .• 
Past kindness makes him deem it measureless. 
But other thoughts, rather, his mind engross ;: 
The traitor in his triumph little cares 
Whether the absent wish him life or death. 
And leaves to me this dire perplexity. 
One stroke shall end it ; at Orestes' hand 


He meets the deatli he ought to have foreseen, 
Which he himself has forced me to desire. 
What ! Is it I then who pronounce his doom ? 
And must he die because Hermione 
Has loved him ? He whose oft repeated deeds 
Gave ever fresh delight when heard again, 
To whom in secret I had link*d my lot 
Ere to the fatal contract we were bound. 
Have I then crossed so many lands and seas, 
And come so far, only to dig his grave, 
To be his murderer ? Ah, ere he dies — 

Scene 2. 
Hebmione, Cleonb. 


What have I done, Cleone ? Have you aught 
To teU me ? Where is Pyrrhus ? 


At the height 
Of love and happiness ; proudest of men, 
I saw him to the temple lead his bride, 
His latest conquest : in his eye there shone 
The light of joy and hope. Gazing on her. 
He seem'd to drink intoxicating draughts. 
Andromache, 'midst all the glad acclaim, 
Bore in her heart sad memories of Troy ; 
Incapable alike of love and hate. 
Submissive, she nor murmured nor rejoiced. 


And Pyrrhus ? Carried he his bold affront 
To th' end ? Observed you weU his countenance ? 
Seem'd he to taste calm pleasure unalloy'd ? 
Did he not hither cast a single look ? 
Tell me, Cleone, did you meet his eye ? 

I. N 

178 bacine's wobks. [act v/ 

And did lie blush when he perceived you there ? 
Show'd he with troubled brow a sense of guilt. 
Or did his pride support him to the last ? 


He noticed nothing ; and his safety seem'd, 
With honour's voice, forgotten like yourself. 
Heedless of those who follow, friends or foes. 
He hastens onward to Love's wish'd for goal. 
Bound Hector's son he has bestow'd his guards. 
And fancies danger threatens him alone. 
Phoenix has him in charge, who to a fort 
Far from the temple and the palace brings 
The child, whose safety seems the only care 
That Pyrrhus knows. 


The wretch shall die ! What said 
Orestes ? 


He has enter'd with his men 
The temple. 


Is he ready to avenge 
My wrongs ? 


I know not. 


What, you know not ! Will 
Orestes too prove false ? 


He worships you ; 
But with a thousand scruples of remorse 
Contending, now to Honour he gives heed, 
And now to Love. In Pyrrhus he respects 
The throne, Achilles, and Achilles' son. 


He fears the wrath of Greece and all the world ; 
But more than all, he said, he fears himseK. 
As victor he would bring the traitor's head, 
£ut not as an assassin, odious name ! 
At last he enter'd, knowing not if thence 
He should go forth blood guilty, or a mere 


No ; their triumph he will watch 
Without the wish to strike a jarring note. 
I know what scruples make his courage blench ; 
The coward fears to die, and fears nought else. 
My mother stoop'd not to a single prayer. 
Yet in her cause all Greece rose up in arms. 
Her eyes, thro' ten years' war, saw twenty kings, 
Whose names she scarcely knew, die for their sake : 
While I but ask death to a perjurer, 
-Charging a lover to avenge my wrongs. 
And so to win me at no risk to him ; 
I give myself, and yet I am refused ! 
Oo to, my own arm must for justice strike. 
Let cries of pain thro' all the temple ring ; 
Their fatal bridal shall in bloodshed end. 
And but one moment see them man and wife. 
l^OT shall my fury halt to choose its prey, 
Orestes shall as Pyrrhus be to me ; 
And if by death I purchase my revenge, 
I'll gladly die in such good company. 

Scene 3. 
OsESTES, Hebmione, Cleoke. 


Madam, 'tis over, and your will is done ; 
Tes, at the altar now the traitor yields 
His life. 


Is Pyrrhus dead ? 


180 bacine's wobks. [act v. 


He breathes his last. 
Our Greeks have blotted out his guilt in blood. 
I gave my promise, tho' this plot to me 
Appeared too horrible. With hasty steps 
I sought the temple, when I found our men 
Had to the very altar crept unseen 
Amid the crowd. With countenance unchanged, 
Pyrrhus perceived me, and his courage seem'd 
Warm'd at the sight ; Greece, in my person braved. 
Lending fresh glory to his nuptial rites. 
Proudly he raised on high the diadem, 
And placed it on the Trojan woman's brow 
With his own hand, saying : " I give to you 
My crown, and plight my troth ; reign o*er my realms 
And o'er myself ; your son shall find in me 
A father's love ; may Heav'n confirm the vow 
I make to you his mother, and his foes 
Be mine. I hail him as the King of Troy." 
Applause resounded as he spake these words, 
Answer'd by cries of wrath from Grecian throats. 
They throng'd around the traitor where he stood. 
So that I found no place to strike, for each 
Vied with his neighbour who should lay him low. 
Cover'd with blood, vainly he sought escape 
From countless blows, and at the altar fell. ' 

Thence passing thro' the termr-stricken crowds, | 

I came, to bring my princess to the port. 

There will our friends, their hands with slaughter red, ' 

Be with us soon. My promise is fulfill'd. i 



What have they done ? 


If their excess of zeal , 

Has marr'd your vengeance, pardon them for that. 
You would have had me be the first to strike, I 

That he might feel it was for you he died ; j 

But 'twas my ardour prompted them to act ; 


"For your sake, and yours only, were they brought 
Within the temple ; you may justly claim 
As sacrificed to you tiie life they took. 
As agents of the vengeance you had plann'd. 


Traitor, be silent, nor impute to me 

The crime which brands you coward. Let the Greeks 

Applaud the impious act. Go ; I disown 

Your cruelty and you, who have destroy'd 

The noblest of mankind this fatal day. 

Did no compunction visit your fell hearts 

To check such slaughter? Who made you the judge 

To sentence him to death ? What was his crime ? 

What right had you to slay him ? Tell me that ! 

Who bade you do it ? 


Heav'ns ! It was you yourself, 
Just now, upon this spot, the order gave. 


You should have paid no heed to love bereft 
Of reason, but have read my deeper thoughts. 
Saw you not while I raved distractedly, 
My heart belied whatever words I spoke ? 
E'en had I meant them, you should have refused, 
A hundred times repeated, such a wish : 
Ask'd me again before the blow was struck. 
And then returned, or rather shunn'd my sight. 
You should have let me wreak my own revenge. 
What lured you hither, hateful to mine eyes ? 
Behold what bitter fruit your love has borne ! 
You bring me all the ills that follow you : 
Your embassy it was, fatal to both, 
That to my rival made his thoughts incline. 
He might have else admitted me to share 
His heart again, or feign'd at least to love. 
Go you, in this Epirus I will stay. 

182 bacine's wobks. [act v, 

Greece and my Spartan home I here renounce, 

Yea, all my family ; enough for me 

That they have bred a monster like yourself ! 

Scene 4. 


Was that Hermione I saw and heard ? 

She for whom flow'd the blood that I have shed ? 

Did she not call me traitor, murderer ? 

Am I Orestes ? And is Pyrrhus slain ? 

Was reason's light extinguished in my heart 

That I should kill a king whom I revere, 

In one day violate a sovereign's rights. 

An envoy's office, and all human ties, 

Profane the altars where he stood at bay. 

And turn a sacrilegious regicide ? 

And all for one who knows no gratitude, 

Who made me vow to slay him, or she ne'er 

Would see me more. When I have done the task 

Her fury set, she taunts me with his blood ! 

She loves him ! As a monster looks on me 1 

Far from mine eyes for ever she withdraws. 

And in her thankless flight leaves me for hire 

Names of reproach, incurr'd to please her rage ! 

Scene 5. 
Obestes, Pylades, Soldiebs of Obestes. 


We must depart, and leave this palace. Sir ; 
Or be content never to leave at all. 
Our Greeks defend the gate one moment more. 
Ere our pursuers' forces grow too strong. 
All here obey Andromache's commands. 


They treat her as their queen, and us as foes : 

And she herself, stubborn while Pyrrhus lived, 

All duties of a faithful widow pays, 

And urges vengeance, haply all the more 

That Hector's shade too claims the blood of Greece. 

Let us not wait, then, till they hem us round ; 

Our men will join us, and, while all the crowd 

Still gaze and gape upon Hermione, 

We may pass thro' in safety. Come this way. 


No, friends ; it is Hermione I fain 
Would follow, her last sentence can I not 
Survive. Go ; let me expiate my crime. 


Hermione ! Forget her. Would you still. 
The instrument and object of her rage. 
Invite fresh insult e'en among the dead ? 
And, because she dies, must you perish too ? 


She dies ! Ye gods, what is it that I hear ? 


Did you not know ? We met her, as we came ; 
With hurrying feet, and frenzy in her eyes. 
She sought the temple, and found Pyrrhus borne 
By soldiers whom his blood to vengeance roused : 
Doubtless that sight stirr'd madness too in her. 
We saw her, as we stood above the gate, 
O'er Pyrrhus bending low, dagger in hand ; 
Then, eyes uplifting, plunge it in her breast, 
And f aU. 


Ah, Heav'n has been pleased t' inflict 
Woes worse than I had look'd for ! Never tum'd 
One moment from relentless punishment, 
The gods have made my agony supreme. 

184 racine's works. [act v. 

And found delight devising miseries, 
That I might serve as an example meet 
Of wrath celestial, bom to wretchedness. 
Well, I have drain'd the cup, and die content. 
Where are the lovers ? To complete my joy. 
Let me be drown'd in blood, their own and mine. 
Let me behold them as they both expire 
And three hearts be united, that were long 
Discordant — 

But what thickness of black night 
Enshrouds me suddenly ! What horror thrills 
Thro* all my frame, with no way of escape ! 
Thank heav'n ! I see a glimmering light. 'Tis blood, 
Streams of red blood all round me ! 


Ah, my lord ! 


What, Pyrrhus ! Must I meet thee everywhere ? 
How has my hated rival 'scaped his wounds ? 
Hold, I have yet a stroke reserved for thee. 
Hut what is this ? Hermione, with arms 
Encircling, tears him from the threaten'd blow ! 
Ye gods 1 What frightful looks she casts on me ! 
Serpents and fiendish faces dog her steps. , 
Why are your hands outstretched, Euries of Hell ? 
Whom do these snakes, that hiss above your heads, 
Threaten to sting ? What means this horrid train ? 
Come ye to bear me to eternal night ? 
So be it, to your rage Orestes yields. • 
But no, leave vengeance to Hermione ; 
'Twere better that she tear, me limb from limb, 
Yea, and devour the heart I offer her ! 


Friends, he has lost his senses. .While there's time. 
Let's take advantage of this fit, and save 
The prince. Our efforts will be vain if once 
His madness here with consciousness return. 



J I 


THIS plaj, which is neither a comedy nor a farce but 
has elements in common with each, was first per- 
formed in 1668 at Paris, and afterwards at Versailles. Its 
humour in a great measure depends upon the mock gravity 
which masks its ridiculous features; the language and 
style are those of comedy, while the tone of exaggeration 
and the absurdity of the situations belong more fitly to 
burlesque. It is a French adaptation of " The Wasps " of 
Aristophanes, to which the wit of Eabelais and of Furetiere 
(author of the " Eoman Bourgeois ") have contributed not 
a little. Eacine's own experience of law and lawyers was 
derived from the suit in which he had been involved about 
the Priory of Epemay, during the course of which he 
picked up a number of barbarous terms, " which," to quote 
his own words, " neither my judges nor I ever properly 

" Les Plaideurs," though it fell rather flat at first, has 
proved to be by far the most popular of all Eacine's 


Damdin, a judge. 
Leander, son of Dandin, 
Chicaneau, a Htigen, 
IsABELLE, daughter of Chicaneau, 
A Countess, 

Petit- J ean, a house porter, 
L'Intim£, a clerk, 
A Prompter, 

The scene is laid in a town of Lower Normandy. 




Scene 1. 

Petit- Jean {kavling along a big hagfvU of law-pwpers). 

Oh, what a fool is he who trusts the future : 

Who laughs at morn will cry before the night. 

A judge took me, last year, into his service, — 

Fetch'd me from Amiens to be Swiss porter. 

These Normans thought to laugh at my expense : 

When we're with wolves, one learns to howl, they say. 

I played a wily hand, tho* a poor Picard, 

And crack'd my whip loudly as any other. 

All the fine gentlemen would, hat in hand. 

Call me good Mr. Petit- Jean, with flatteries 

L6ng as your arm. But honours without coin 

Are naught. I acted like a play-house porter ; 

In vain they knock'd, and bow' d with heads uncovered. 

Save with the silver key, they might not enter. 

No money, — then no Swiss, to unlock the door. 

'Tis true my master's pocket took a scantling ; 

Sometimes there came a reckoning. 'Twas my charge 

To purchase hay, and candles for the house ; 

I did not lose by that, at all events ; 

I might have bought the straw into the bargain. 

His heart was too much in his work, however, — 

The more's the pity, — first in court, and last. 

Each day, and often quite alone ; believe me, 

190 bacine's works. [act I. 

He'd like to sleep there without sup or morsel. 
Td say at times,—" Dear Mr. Perrin Dandiu, 
Excuse my freedom, you get up too early. 
He who would travel far should spare his steed ; 
Drink, eat, and sleep, and make a fire to last." 
He took no heed. And so well have his vigils 
Eepaid him, that they say his brain is crack'd. 
One up, one down, he wants to judge us all. 
He's always mumbling some strange gibberish, 
I know not what, and will, by hook or crook, 
Take with him into bed his wig and gown. 
He had his cock killed, in a fit of rage. 
Because it didn't wake him up in time : 
He said, a suitor, whose affair went ill. 
Had with a bribe corrupted the poor bird. 
Poor man, this sentence did him little good, 
His son all talk of business has tabooed : 
He makes us guard him closely night and day, 
Or else, — ^good-bye, he's off, and in the court ! 
Heav'n knows, he's quick enough to give the slip. 
And I, — ^no sleep for me, I'm growing thin. 
Wretchedly thin ; I stretch my arms and yawn. 
But watch who will, this bag shall be my pillow : 
To-night, i' faith, I'll take my ease for once ! 
No one can blame me sleeping in the streets. 
Let's go to sleep. 

[JETe lies down on the ground. 

Scene 2. 

L'Intim:^, Petit-Jean. 

What ho! Friend Petit- Jean ! 


L'lntim^ ! 

(Aside.) He's afraid I'm catching cold. 

scene 2.] the litigants. 191 

My stars ! What brings you in the street so early ? 


I*m not a stork, to stand upon one leg. 
For ever on the watch, hearing him shout. 
What bellows too ! I think the man's possessed. 

Excellent ! 


When I scratch my head, and tell him 
rd like to go to sleep, he gravely says, — 
** Lodge a petition how you wish to sleep." 
It makes me sleepy but to talk of it. 
Oood night. 


Good night, forsooth ! Deuce take it, if — 
But hark, I think I hear a noise up there. 

Scene 3. 

Dandin, L'Intim]^, Petit- Jean. 

DANDiN (at the window). 
Petit- Jean! L'lntim^ ! 

l'intime {to petit-jean). 


I'm alone. 
My keepers prove defaulters, Heav'n be prais'd. 
Give time enough, they'll enter an appearance. 
Now for a gaol delivery thro' the window. 
Out of the court there ! 

192 bagine's wobks. [act i. 

Ha! Well jumped! 


You're caught, Sir I 


Thieves ! Thieves ! 


We've got you now, and won't let go. 


There's no good bawling. 


Help ! They're murdering me I 

Scene 4i. 
Leandeb, Dandin, L'Intime, Petit-Jean. 


I hear my father in the street. Quick, lights ! 
Father, what brings you out at such an hour ? 
Whither away so fast ? 


I want to judge. 


Judge whom ? The world's asleep. 


Except myself. 


Why, what a heap of bags ! They're all about him. 



It will be quite three montlis ere I come back. 
And these are my provisions, — bags and papers. 


But you'll want food. 


There's a refreshment stall. 


Where will you sleep then, father? 


On the bench. 


No, father ; you'd much better stay at home. 
Lie in your own bed, eat at your own table. 
Listen to reason, and let that persuade you ; 
And for your health — 


I like to be unwell. 


You're bad enough already. Take some rest : 
You'll soon be nothing but mere skin and bones. 


Rest ? Would you have me rule myself by you ? 
Think you a judge has nought to do but pace 
The streets like any fop, and make good cheer, 
Gambling by day, and dancing all the night ? 
No, money does not drop into one's hands ; 
Each of your ribbands costs me an award, 
Yet you're asham'd to be a judge's son, 
And ape the nobleman. Dandin, my friend. 
See the ancestral portraits on my walls, 
I. o 

194 bacinb's works. [act i. 

All of them wearing the judicial robes ; 

No other line is hafi so good ; compare 

A judge's fees with what a marquis gets ; 

Wait till the year's end, and then count our gains. 

A nobleman's no better than a pillar 

Inside my hall ! The smartest swell among them 

Will stand there blowing on his frozen fillers, 

His nose close muffled, or a hand thrust down 

Into his pocket ; and to warm himself 

He'll turn my spit. That's how they fare. Poor boy. 

Tour angel mother never taught you so. 

My Babonnette, I weep to think of her. 

How not a single sitting she would miss, 

How all her life she never left my side, 

And took away full often Heav'n knows what : 

She would have rather pocketed the napkins 

The waiter brought, than gone home empty-handed. 

That's how to raise a family ! Begone ; 

You're nothing but a fool. 


You'll soon catch cold 
If you stand there. Take him back. Petit- Jean, 
Put him to bed, shut every door and window, 
Making all fast, and keep your master warm. 


You must have stronger railings fix'd up there. 


What ! go to bed thus without legal forms ! 
First get an order sign'd how I'm to sleep. 


Lie down at least, pending proceedings, father. 


I'll go ; but mark me, to enrage you all 
I wUl not sleep a wink. 



All well and good ! 
Don't let him be alone. Stay, L'Intime. 

Scene 5. 
Leandeb, L^IntimiS. 


I wish to have some words with you in private. 

You'll need a keeper next. 


I need one now. 
Alas, I*m quite as crazy as my father. 

You want to judge ? 


(Pointing to laahelle^s dwelling,) 

Enough of mystery ! 
You know that house there. 


Now I understand you. 
'Tis early in the day to go a-courting. 
You want me to discuss Miss Isabefle ; 
I've told you often she's discreet and pretty ; 
But then consider Chicaneau, her father, 
Consumes in lawsuits well-nigh all her fortune. 
He sues each man he meets. I think he'll bring 
All France before the bar ere he has done. 
He's taken lodgings next door to his judge, 

196 ragine's works. [act 

One would be always pleading, and the other 
Still on the bench ; nor will your case be settled 
Till he has sued you all, priest, lawyer, bridegroom. 


I know't as well as you; in spite of all 
I die for Isabelle. 


Well, marry her. 
You only have to speak, and it is done. 


Not quite so soon as you imagine. No, 

Her father is a Tartar, and I dread him. 

Unless you are an usher or attorney. 

One may not see his daughter. She, poor girl. 

Shut up at home, as in a prison, mourns 

While youth is spent in vain regrets, her portion 

In lawsuits, and my passion's flame in smoke. 

Yes, he will ruin her, if this goes on. 

Now don't you know some honest forger fellow 

Who'll serve his friend — ^for a consideration, — 

Some zealous bailiff P 


There are plenty of them ! 




Ah, Sir, if my poor father 
Were yet alive, he'd be the man to suit you. 
He made more in one day, than would another 
In six months. On his wrinkled brow were writ 
His exploits. He'd have stopp'd a prince's carriage. 
And taken him himself. He pocketed 
Nineteen of every twenty lashes given 
In the whole province. I'm my father's son ; 
How can I help you ? 






any bailiff. 

Ay, better, 




a false writ 

Would you serve her father 






Give the girl a letter ? 

Both in my line. Why not ? 


Hark ! Someone calls. 
We'll think of this some other time. 

Scene 6. 
Chicaneatj, Petit-Jean. 

CHiCANEAU (going away and then coming hack). 

La Brie, 
Secure the house well, I shall soon return. 
Let no one mount the stairs while Tm away. 
See that this letter's sent by next mail southward. 
Go and choose three fine rabbits from the hutches, 
And take them this forenoon to my attorney. 
If his clerk comes, give him a glass of wine. 
And let him have that bag beside my window. 
I wonder if that's all. Oh ! should there call 

198 bacine's works. [act i. 

A tall, thin man, — yon know him, serves as witness 
And swears for me at need — asking to see me, 
Tell him to wait. The judge I fear's gone out, 
It's nearly four. But I will knock. 

PBTiT-JBAN {hcdf'Opening the door). 

Who's there? 


I wish to see your master. 

PETIT- JEAN (ahutting the door). 
Not at home. 

CHiCANEAU {fenoching at the door). 
His secretary, can I speak a word to him ? 

PETIT- JEAN (shutting the door). 

CHICANEAU (knocking again). 
Well, his porter ? 


c I am he. 


Pray drink 
My health, Sir. 

PETIT-JEAN (taking money). 

Much good may it do you ! 
(shutting the door). But 

Return to-morrow. 


Give me back my money. 
In truth the world is getting sadly wicked. 
I've known the time when lawsuits gave no trouble ! 
Six crowns well spent would win me half-a-dozen. 
It seems to me my whole estate to-day 

feCENi; 7.] THE LITIGANTS. 199 

Would hardly be enough to bribe a porter. 
But I perceive the Countess of Pimbesche 
Approaches, surely on some pressing business. 

Scene 7. 

The Countess, Chicaneau. 

There's no admittance. Ma'am. 

THE countess. 

Didn't I say so ? 
r faith my lackeys make me lose my senses. 
Scold as I wiU, they won't get up for me ; 
And all the household sleeps till I awake it. 


He must have told his servant to deny him. 


I've tried to get a word with him these two days, 
But all in vain. 


My adversary's strong, 
And makes me fear. 


After my treatment, you, Sir, 
Mast not complain. 


Eight's on my side, however. 

Ah ! what injustice ! 


200 bacine's wobks. [act i. 


I appeal to you, Ma'am. 


Sir, you should know the shameful treachery — 


A trivial cause at bottom — 


Let me tell you — 


The facts are these. Some twenty years ago 
A certain donkey cross'd a field of mine, 
BoU'd in the grass, and did a lot of damage ; 
Against him then I lodged an information, 
Had him arrested, and an arbitrator 
Kamed. At two trusses he assessed the damage 
Done to the hay. A year pass'd by, and then 
I found myself non-suited, and appealed. 
They sued upon the judgment, till the case 
Came on for hearing, — ^Madam, mark this well— 
Drolichon — let me tell you he's no fool, — 
C^ets, at some cost, a judgment on request. 
And so I gain my case. What happens then ? 
The trickster on his side stops execution. 
Meanwhile another incident occurs ; 
Defendant's fowl invades the self -same meadow,— 
Order of Court to draw up a report 
Of how much hay a hen can eat a day, — 
Added to previous case. Things being thus 
" In statu quo," the hearing is referred 
To April eighth or ninth, year fifty-six. 
I take fresh action, furnish and procure 
Pleas, declarations, arguments, and warrants. 
Experts' reports, injunctions, writs of error. 
Statements of grievance, and fresh evidence. 
With affidavits, royal letters patent. 


And confutations. Then a dozen rules, 

And writs are issued ; we produce new proofs, 

And replications follow. Judgment giv'n, — 

I lose my case with costs — three hundred pounds 

To pay ! Is that the justice of the law ? 

And after twenty years ! I've one resource left ; 

The Court of Chancery is open to me. 

I won't give in. But you, as I perceive, 

Have a suit pending ? 


Would to Heav'n I had ! 


I'll bum my boats ! 



Pay three hundred pounds ! 
All for a truss or two of hay ! 


My lawsuits 
Have all been stopp'd, tho' there were only left 
Four or five little ones — ^against my husband. 
My father, and my children. Oh ! the pity of it ! 
They spared no dirty trick that could be thought of. 
Nor was that all ; they've got a judge's order 
By which I am restrain'd, — my food and clothing 
Provided me, — from going to law a^ain. 

From going to law ? 

That's monstrous 1 


Yes, Sir, from going to law. 




Sir, I'm driven to despair. 


To tie the hands of such a noble lady ! 
But the allowance, Madam, is it large ? 


'Twould keep me very comfortably. Sir. 
But life is worthless without going to law. 


Shall knaves then eat us up, body and soul. 
And we say nothing ? Tell me, please, how long 
It is since you began. 


I can't remember, 
'Tis thirty years or more. 


That's not so long. 




And what may be your age ? Your looks 
Seem young. 


Some sixty years. 


Just the right age 
To plead in courts. 


Let them go on ! They'll find 
They have not seen the end of me. I'll sell 
The last stitch off my back sooner than yield. 



Listen ! Til tell you what you ought to do. 


I trust you, Sir, as if you were my father. 


I'd have you see my judge, — 


Yes, Sir, I'll go. 


Cast yourself at his feet, — 


Yes, there I'll fall, 
I'm quite resolved. 


Be kind enough to hear me. 


Yes, yes, you comprehend my situation. 


Have you done. Madam ? 




Then seek my judge. 
And without ceremony — 

You are ! 


Ah, how good 

204 bacinb's wobks. [a.ct i. 


If still you speak, I must be silent. 


You overpower me with gratitude. 


•Get access to my judge, and say — 




You are again ! Say to him : Sir- 



Yes, Sir. 


Tie me — 


I won't be tied. 


What stuff and nonsense ! 


I say I won't. 


You have strange fancies. Madam. 


1^0, never. 


Wait till you have heard me out. 

SCENE 7.] THE LITiaAJ7TS. 205 


ril go to law, or know the reason why. 




But ril never let them tie me, Sir — 


When once a woman's head has got a craze — 


Crazy yourself ! 


Madam ! 


Tie me, indeed ! 


Madam ! 


The fellow grows impertinent. 


But, Madam, — 


Eascal, with his dirty tricks, 
Advising me ! 




With all his talk 
About a donkey ! Go, and watch your hay. 

206 BACINB'S WORKS. [aCT !• 


This is too mucli ! 




Oh, for witnesses 

Scene 8. 
Petit-Jean, the Countess, Chicaneaxt, 


A pretty row they're making at our door ! 
Oo, and raise storms of this sort farther off. 


Be witness, Sir — 


This gentleman's a fool. 


Ton hear her ; pray remember that expression. 

PETIT- JEAN (to the Countess). 
Ton oughtn't to say that. 


He's a fine fellow 
To call me crazy ! 


Crazy! That was wrong. 
Why do you call her names ? 



'Twas good advice. 
That I was giving her. 


Oh, indeed ! 

That I 


Should get tied up ! 


Fie, Sir! 


She would not hear 
All that I had to say. 


Fie, Ma'am ! 


To be abused by him ? 


A scold ! 




Who dares not go to law ! 



What's that to you? 
Abominable swindler, meddler, thief ! 

208 bacine's wobks. [act ii* 


Stop, stop ! 


Why that beats all ! Ten thousand devils ! 
Bailiffs! police! 


Oh, for a constable ! 


They must be all tied up, plaintiffs and judge. 

ACT 11. 

Scene 1. 
Leandeb, L'Intime. 



I can't do everything ; there's one stroke more i 

Needed ; and you must play the magistrate, I 

If I'm the officer. If you'll but don | 

A gown and foUow in my steps, you'll find | 

Means to hold converse. Change that auburn wig. j 

These people do not know of your existence, j 

And when they come to wait upon your father, | 

Day will have scarcely dawn'd; You've cause to praise | 

That precious Countess whom my lucky star I 

Brought just when she was wanted. Seeing me, | 

She fell into the trap, and bade me serve 
A writ on Chicaneau, and summon him 
Before the Court for certain words of his, 
Whereby he wish'd to make her pass for mad. 
Too mad to be at large, with other insults 
Such as are wont to garnish writs of slander. 
But you say nothing of my fine get up. 
Don't I look like a sheriff's officer ? 



Ay, that you do ! 


I can't think how it is, 
I feel rm twenty times the man I was. 
Well, here's the writ, and here, Sir, is your letter 
Miss Isabelle shall have it, that I promise. 
But if you'd have this marriage contract sign'd, 
You must present yourself without delay. 
Pretend to make inquiries on the matter. 
While making love under her father's nose. 


Don't let the writ change places with the letter. 


No. He shall have the writ, and she the " billet," 
Go in. 

(L'Intime goes and JcnocJcs at Isabelle's door.) , 

Scene 2. 

Isabelle, L'IntimiS. 


Who knocks ? 

'Tis Isabelle. 


A friend. 

(Aside,) The voice is hers. 

Who is it, Sir, you want ? 


I have a little writ here ; grant me, please, ^Q^ 

The honour. Miss, of serving it on you. ^ 

I. p 

210 kacinb's wobks. [act II. 


Excuse me, Sir, I cannot understand it ; 
Mj father will be here soon ; speak to Hm. 

Is he not then within, Miss ? 


No, he's not. 

The warrant, Miss, is made out in jour name. 


You, doubtless, take me. Sir, for someone else. 

I never went to law, but know its cost ; 

And if the world loved it no more than I do. 

You and your like would need some new employment. 


But, pray, allow — 


I'll allow nothing. 

This is no writ. 


Nonsense ! 


It is a letter. 


That's worse. 


But read it. 



No, you shall not catch me. 

The gentleman who wrote it was — 


Farewell, Sir. 



Not SO loud. Who, did you say ? 


It's hard to make her Usten ; faith, I'm now 
Quite out of breath. 

L*Intime, give it. 


Oh, pardon my surprise ; 


You'd have slamm'd the door 
IMght in my face. 


Who would have knowli 'twas you 
In this disguise ? Give it. 


I like politeness. 


Please, give it. 

What a plague ! 

212 bacine's works. [act n. 


Don't give it then. 
Go, take your letter with yon. 


Ton shall have it. 
Bnt next time don't you be in such a hurry. 

Scene 3. 
Chicaneait, Isabelle, L'Intim^. 


Yes, yes ; she call'd me fool and thief. I've charged 
A sheriffs officer to take my thanks, 
And I'll soon serve her with a dainty dish. 
I should be vex'd were I obliged to send 
A second time, or if she she sued me first. 
But who is this man talking to my daughter ? 
She reads a letter : it must be a lover's. 
I will go near. 


Shall I believe your master ? 
Is he sincere ? 

He cannot sleep o' nights, 
No more than your papa ; he'll — 

(perceiving Chicaneaxt.) 

Make you see 
How those gain nought who go to law with him, 

ISABELLE (perceiving Chicaneatt). 
My father ! 

(To L'Intime.) 
You may tell them, if they sue, 
I can defend myself. 

(Tearing the letter,) 
Stay, look you, thus 
I treat the writ you bring me. 



What is this? 
It was a writ that she was reading then. 
She'll yet do credit to her family. 
And hold her own ! Come to my arms, my child ! 
rU buy you " The Complete Guide to the Law." 
But — ^hajig it all — writs shouldn't be torn up. 


I fear them not, and you may say as much : 

Ay, let them do their worst : it won't displease me. 


Don't vex yourself, my dear. 


Good day, Sir. 

Scene 4. 
Chicaneau, L'IntimA. 

l'intimI^ (^preparing to write). 

Now then, 
I must draw up a statement. 


Sir, excuse her : 
She's ignorant ; and I can piece together 
These fragments, if you'll kindly wait a moment. 



I shall soon decipher it. 


I'll help you, 
I've got another copy. 

214 eacine's works. [act ii 


Most obliging, 
I'm sure ! Somehow, the more I look at you 
The less I'm able to recall your face, 
Tho' I know heaps of bailiffs. 


Make inquiries. 
I'm not a bad hand at my little jobs. 


May be. Who sent you ? 


A distinguish'd lady. 
Who much esteems you, and with aU her heart 
Desires you to come, at my request. 
And say one word by way of reparation. 


Of reparation ? I have injured no one. 

I well believe it, Sir ; you are too good. 


What do you want then ? 


She would have you, Sir, 
Do her the honour, before witnesses. 
Of owning her possess'd of sound good sense. 


Good gracious ! *Tis my Countess ! 


At your service I 



Give her my best respects. 


I thank you, Sir. 


Yes, pray assure her I have sent a bailiff 

To satisfy her claims as she deserves. 

What ! Is the injured party to be punish'd ? 

Let's see what song she sings. H'm — " The sixteenth 

Of January, for having falsely said. 

Prompted by evil motives, that the high 

And noble dame, the Countess of Fimbesche, 

Ought to be kept in durance as insane, 

Be't now declared th' above named Jeremy 

Shall straightway to th* aforesaid lady's house 

Betake himself, and before witnesses 

Not less than four, besides a notary. 

In a clear voice acknowledge her sound judgment." 

Sign'd, " Good." Is he your sheriff ? 


m face it out in brazen impudence. 

At your service. 


I never saw a writ sign'd " Good " before. 
Who's Mr. Good?. 




I say you're a rogue. 

I beg your pardon, I'm an honest man. 

216 bacine's wobks. [act ii. 


The most consummate knave 'tween tliis and Borne. 


'Tis not for me to contradict yon, Sir : 
But you will have to pay for defamation. 


Pay ? Yes, with blows. 


You are too gentle, Sir ; 
You'll pay me in good coin. 


My head will burst 
If he goes on. Take that ! 


A box on th' ear ! 
I'll write it down, " that the said Jeremy, 
With other outrages, struck me, a bailiff ; 
And thereby knock'd my hat into the mud." 

CHICANEAU (giving him a kick). 
Take that, too ! 

Thanks. As good as ready money ! 
I want some badly. " Not content with that, 
FoUow'd it up by giving me a kick." 
Bravo ! " Moreover, the aforesaid Jeremy 
Tried, in a rage, to tear this present statement." 
Come, my dear Sir,' this goes on splendidly. 
Don't stop. 


You rascal ! 

Do just what you please. 
Give me the stick next, if you would oblige me. 


CHICANEAU (holding up a stick). 
Yes, that I will, and see if you're a bailiff. 

l'intime (pr^aHng to write). 
Quick, hit me then. I have four hungry children. 


Forgive me ! you're a bailiff, sure enough; 
But the most clever man may be deceived. 
I wrong'd you sadly, but will make amends : 
Yes, you're a bailiff, Sir, a thorough bailiff. 
Your hand: such men as you have my respect ,•• 
And my late father always brought me up 
In the fear of Heav'n, and of bailiffs, Sir. 

No, you don't beat me on such easy terms. 


Don't draw up a complaint. Sir ! 


Words of insult, 
A stick raised, ears box'd, and a kick ! 


Nay, rather 
Give them me back, please. 


They are far too precious ; 
I wouldn't part with them for fifty pounds. 


Scene 5. 
Leandeb (dressed as a magistrate), Chicanbati, L*Intime. 


Here comes his Worship, in the nick of time : 
Your presence, Sir, is just what we require. 
This gentleman has made me a small present, 
And giv'n me a tremendous box on th' ear. 


What you, Sir? 


Me, I say. Item, a kick ; 
Besides the names that he bestows on me. 


And have you witnesses ? 


Put your hand here. Sir : 
Feel how my ear and cheek are tingling still. 


Ha ! Taken in the act ! assault and battery ! 


I'm in a nasty fix ! 


His daughter, too. 
At least she said she was, tore up my writ. 
Saying she was pleased to get it, and defied us 
To do our worst. 


Then bring the daughter here. 
They seem a contumacious family. 


CHICANBAU (aside). 

These people must most surely have bewitch'd me : 
May I be hang'd if I know one of them 1 


Assault a bailiff ! Here's the little rebeL 

Scene 6. 

Leander, Isabelle, Chicaneau, L*Intim:e* 

l'intime (to Isabelle). 
D' you recognize him ? 


Well, Miss, so it's you 
Who just now treated with supreme contempt 
Our officer, and haughtily defied us. 
Your name, please. 




So. Write it down. 
Tour age ? 



But that's no matter. 


In fact a little more ; 


Say, have you a husband ? 


No, Sir. 



You're laughing? Write down that she laugh'd. 


Don't talk of husbands, Sir, to girls like her ; 
You've nought to do with family affairs. 


Write that he interrupted. 


Nay, I did not 
Intend to do so. Isabelle, take care 
What you say next. 


Pray don't alarm yourself. 
We do not wish to vex you ; answer freely. 
Did not this bailiff here hand you a paper 
Just now ? 


That's right, Sir. 


Good, and so he did. 


And did you dare to tear it up unread ? 


I read it. Sir. 


Ha ! good again. 


Write on. 

(To Isabelle.) 
What made you tear it ? 



Sir, I was afraid 
My father would take it to heart too much, 
And its perusal might inflame his wrath. 


And you're the girl so frightened at the Law ! 
Mere mischief. 


So you did not tear the paper 
In scorn, or in contempt of those who sent it 
To you? 


IVe neither anger nor contempt 
For them. 

LEANDER (to L'InTIM:^). 

Write that down. 


She takes after me ; 
She answers very well. 


You show, however. 
An evident contempt for men of law. 


A lawyer's gown used to offend my eyes, 
But that aversion now grows somewhat less. 


That's right, my child ! You shall be married well. 
And at no distant date — if it costs nothing. 


You then consent to meet the claims of justice ? 

222 Racine's works, [act ii. 

Sir, 1*11 do anything to give you pleasure. 

Sir, make lier sign her name to that. 


Will you 
Confirm -your promise when occasion serves ? 


You may trust Isabelle to keep her word. 


Sign then. That's well, justice is satisfied. 
There now, will you. Sir, add your name ? 


With pleasure : 
I sign, without a look, to all she says. 

LEANDEB (aside to Isabelle). 

All has gone well. Success smiles on my wishes ; 
He signs a marriage contract in due form. 
And his own hand will prove his condemnation. 

CHICANEAU (aside). 

What is he saying to her ? Charm'd no doubt 
With her good sense. 


Farewell. Be ever wise, 
As you are fair. My man, escort her home. 
Come, Sir, 


Where now? 


Where I shall lead you, Sir. 



But where ? 


You'll soon know. In the King's name, come. 


What's this ? 

Scene 7. 
Leandeb, Chicaneau, Petit-Jean. 


I say, has anybody seen 
My master ? Which way went he ? By the door, 
Or window ? 


Don't tell me ! 


His son is vanish'd ; 
And for the father, deuce knows where he is. 
He kept on telling me he wanted " spices ; " 
I, like a simpleton, ran to the pantry. 
To find the pepper-box ; and he, meanwhile. 

Scene 8. 

Dandin (at a garret window on the roof), Leandeb, 
Chicaneati, L'Intim^, Petit-Jean. 


Peace ! Silence in the Court, I say. 


Good Heavens ! 

224 bacine's wobks. [act ii. 

Look, he's up there on the gutter. 


Pray, who are you ? What is your business, Sirs ? 
Who are these gownsmen ? Are you barristers ? 


You will see, he's going to judge the cats. 


If you have not yet seen my secretary. 
Ask him if he has told me of your case. 


I must get hold of him, and bring him down. 
Keep your eyes, bailiff, on your prisoner. 


Ho, you Sir ! 


Silence, if you love your life, 
And follow me. 

Scene 9. 
The Countess, Dandin, Chicaneau, L'Intime. 


Quick, what is your petition ? 


Without your order I have been arrested. 


Good gracious ! Is that he among the garrets ? 
What is he doing there ? 



Hearing petitions. 
Now is your chance. 


Sir, having been assaulted, 
And grievously maltreated, I come here 
To make complaint to you. 


As I do also. 


You see before you the offending party. 

'Faith, I will introduce my grievance too. 


Sir, I've a little writ to bring before you. 


Let us in turn prefer our several claims. 


His claim, indeed ! AH that he says is falsehood. 


What wrongs have you sustain'd ? 


The grossest slanders. 

And blows, Sir ; which is more than they can say. 


One of your nephews is my cousin, Sir. 

I. Q 

bacine's wobks. [act n. 


My case is known to Father Cordon, Sir. 

Sir, I'm the bastard of your surgeon-barber. 


And what are you ? 


A Countess. 


I'm a bailiff. 


And I a burgess. 

DANDIN (retiring from the garret window on the roof). 
Speak, I hear you all. 




Look you there ! He has giv'n us the slip. 




What's this ? Is the Court closed already ? 
Tve not had time to say two words to him. 


Scene 10. 

Leandeb (no longer dressed as a magistrate), Chicaneaxt, 
THE Countess, L'Intime. 


Be kind enough to leave us now in peace. 


Mayn't I come in, Sir ? 


Not while I'm alive. 


Why so ? I shall not occupy an hour ; 
Or two, at most. 


There's no admittance, Sir. 


*Tis well to shut the door upon this brawler. 
But I— 


You cannot be admitted. Madam. 


Yes, Sir, I will. 




I'm sure of it. 


How ? Thro' a window ? 

228 bacine's wobks. [act n. 


Thro' the door. 


We'll see. 


If I must do so, m stay here till midnight. 

Scene 11. 

Leandee, Chicaneaxt, the Countess, L'Intimb, 


No one will hear him now, do what he will. 
I've put him in a room close to the cellar. 


One word will do as well as will a hundred, 
You cannot 9ee my father. 


Oh, indeed ! 
What if I say I must ? And that's the truth. 

(Dandin shows himself at the air-hole of the cellar.) 
But look, Heav'n sends him to our aid once more ! 

Up from the cellar ! 



Surely he's possess'd. 


But for you and your impertinence 
I should not be in here. 





Go awaj, 
Don't bother. 


Will you, Sir— 


You split my head. 


Tve given orders — 


Hold your tongue, I say. 


That there be sent you — 


Take him off to prison. 


A cask of wine, 


Pshaw ! I'll have none of it. 


Excellent muscat. 


Please, repeat your case. 


We must encompass them on all sides. 


Sir, 2Cr^ 

Kothing but lies is what you'll hear from him. 

230 eacine's works. [act ii. 

Sir, 'tis the tnith, I say. 


Zounds, let lier speak. 


Pray, hear me, Sir. 


Allow me to take breath. 




I feel suffocated. 


Pleaee, look here. 


She'll be the death of me. 


You drag me down ! 
Take care, I'm falling. 


Both^ upon my word. 
Have fallen in the cellar. 


Fly there, quick ! 
Bun to their help. But I intend, at least. 
Now Chicaneau's inside, to keep him there 
Till morning. L'Intime, take care of him, 


The air-hole must be watch'd. 


Go, I'll do that. 


Scene 12. 
The Cottntess, Leandeb. 


The wretch will prepossess him in his faTour. 

(She speaks through the cellar air-hole.) 
Pray, believe nothing that he tells you, Sir ; 
He is a liar, and has no witnesses. 


What's that you say to them ? They may be dying 
For aught we know. 


He'll make him swallow all 
He chooses. Let me enter. 


No, you shan't. 


I see the muscat wine works upon you, 
As much as on your father's inclination. 
Patience, I will protest in legal form - 
Against the judge, also against the cask. 


Go then, and let us have a little peace. 
What fools ! I never met such company. 

232 bacinb's wo&es. [act n« 

Scene 13. 



Where are you running, Sir ? You'll hurt yourgelf , 
Limping along like that 


I want to judge. 


No, father ; you must let your woimds be dress'd. 
Quick, fetch a surgeon. 


Bring him into Court. 


Stop, father, stop ! 


Oh ! I can see what's up ; 
You mean to make of me just what you please, 
Casting off filial reverence and regard ; 
You will not let me judge a single case. 
Have done, and take this bag ; be quick. 


There, gently. 
My father. We must find some compromise. 
If judging is your only joy in life, 
And you feel boimd to sit upon the Bench, 
There is no need to leave your house for that ; 
Fulfil your favorite office here with us. 


Don't ridicule a judge's dignity : 
I do not wish to be a dummy, Sir. 



I^aj, you shall judge, and that without appeal. 
In civil causes as in criminal. 
You can hold sittings twice a day, and all 
That passes in our midst be brought before you. 
A servant brings a dirty glass, — you fine him ; 
Or if he breaks one, you award a whipping. 


That's something. It deserves consideration. 
But who's to pay me for my services ? 


Their wages will be your security. 


That's to the point. Your scheme seems feasible. 


And as regards a neighbour — 

Scene 14. 

Dandin, Lsandeb, L'Intime, Petit-Jean. 


Stop, there ! Catch him ! 

LEANDEB (to L'InTIM:e). 

Ah ! Have you let my prisoner escape ? 

No fear of that. 


I am undone — ^your dog — 
Ginger— ^has just run off with a fat capon. 
And eaten it. One can keep nothing from him. 

234» bacine's wosks. [act ii. 


Good, here's a case for him to try. Help ! Bun \ 
All join in the pursuit, and catch the thief. 


No noise. Arrest th' offender qnietlj. 


This household robber must be judged severely. 
And made a notable example, father. 


With due formalities I wish th* affair 
To be conducted, with opposing counsel ; 
And there are none. 


Well, we must make some then. 
There are your porter and your secretary ; 
They will prove first-rate advocates, I fcuicy ; 
They're very ignorant. 


Oh, not at all. Sir ; 
I'll send him fast asleep as well as any. 


Don't expect much from me, for I know nothing. 


This is your first case. We'll prepare it for you. 


But I can't read. 


Then you shall have a prompter. 


Let's go, and make us ready. We must close 
Our eyes to bribes, our ears to all corruption. 
You, Master Petit-Jean, are for the plaintiff ; 
And Master L'lntim^ for the defenaant. 



Scene 1. 
Leandeb, Chicaneau, the Peomptee. 


Yes, Sir, 'twas tlms, I say, thej treated me. 
I knew not either magistrate or tipstaff. 
'Tis true, each word I speak. 


Yes, I believe you ; 
But were I you, I*d let the matter drop ; 
You'shoidd not drive them to extremities, 
Or you will do yourself more harm than them. 
You've spent three quarters of your whole estate 
Already, Sir, in stuffing lawyers' bags ; 
And in a vain pursuit that only harms you — 


Indeed, you give me excellent advice. 

And I intend, ere long, to profit by it. 

But, first, I crave your kindly offices. 

Since your good father will give audience soon 

To suitors, I will fetch my daughter hither ; 

Let her be question' d, she will speak the truth, 

And answer better than myself can do. 


Go then ; when you come back, you shall have justice. 


Queer fellow, this ! 

236 BACIKE'S WOBK8. [act III. 

Scene 2. 
Leander, the Prompter. 


My scheme's perhaps a strange one ; 
But my poor father's craze is desperate, 
And we must get up something to deceive him. 
I have another purpose, too, and wish 
This madman, so outrageously litigious, 
To lose his suit. But here come all our people. 

Scene 3. 

Dandin, Leanber, L'Intim]^ and Petit-Jean (dressed 
as advocates), the Prompter. 


Pray, who are you? 


These are the advocates. 

DANDiN {to the From^pter). 
And you ? 


I come t' assist their memories. 

I see. And you ? 


I represent the public. 

Begin then. 


Gentlemen — 



Don't speak so loud ; 
For, if you prompt like that, tliej can't hear me. 
Gentlemen — 


Put your cap on. 


Oh, my lord — 


Put on your cap, I say. 


I know my place. 


Don't put it on, then. 

PETIT- JEAN (pvMing on his cap). 

Gentlemen — 

(To the Prompter, y 
Be quiet ; 
I know the first part of my speech all right. 
Gentlemen, when I carefully observe 
The mutability of mundane matters. 
And see amidst the various tribes of men 
Not one fix'd star, but many wandenng orbs ; 
Whfen I behold the Caesars and their greatness ; 
When I behold the sun, and view the moon ; 
When I behold the rule of Babybonia ^ 
Pass from the Serpians * to the Nacedonians ; ' 
When I see Lome^ change from prespotic * pow'r 
To memocratic,® thence to monarchy ; 
When I survey Japan — 

Have done surveying ? 


When will the fellow 

^ Babylonia. * Persians. ^ Macedonians. 

^ Rome. ' Despotic ^ Democratic. 

238 baciitb's woeks. [act m. 

ril say no more. 


Why this interruption ? 


You meddling advocate, 
Why can't you let him finish his exordium ? 
I was quite feverish with desire to hear 
How from Japan he'd come back to his capon, 
Wlien yoTi thrust in your frivolous remark. 
Counsel, proceed. 


Ah, now I've lost the thread. 


Courage ! Q-o on, you've made a fine beginning ; 
But w:hy d' you let your arms hang at your side 
Xike that, and stand stock still like any statue ? 
Come, rouse yourself, and show a little life. 

PETIT- JEAN (moving his arms wp and down). 
When — ^when I see — I see — 


Say what you see. 


Zounds, I can't hunt two hares at once, you know 


We read — 


We read — 


In th' Metamorphoses — 





That the Metempsy — 


The Metempsy — 


— chosis — 


The chosis — 


Donkey ! 








Silly idiot I 


Silly idiot. 






Plague upon you ! 


Plague upon yourself ! 
liook at that fellow with his lantern jaws ! 
Oo to the deuce ! 


Tell me the facts. 

And you, come to the point ; 2 "} fl 

240 bacine's wobks. [act hi. 


Whj beat about the busli ? 
They make me talk in words a fathom long. 
In words that reach from here to Jericho. 
For my part I've no need of such ado 
In saying that a mastifE stole a capon, 
(Indeed there's nothing that he won't run off with,) 
And ate it up, — the finest in the yard. 
The first time that I find him there again. 
His trial shall be short, I'll crack his skull. 


A fine conclusion, — worthy of the prologue ! 


It's plain enough, find fault with it who may. 


Call witnesses. 


That's easier said than done, 
For witnesses cost dear, or won't come forward. 


We've got some, all the same, — beyond reproach. 


Produce them, then. 


I have them in my pocket : 
Look here, I've got the capon's head and legs, 
See then, and judge. 


Nay, I object. 


AU right, 
What's your objection ? 



They're from Maine, my lord. 


Ah, true ; they hatch them by the dozen there. 

My lord — 


Will you be long, Sir ? Tell me that. 

I really cannot say. 


At least, he's honest. 

l'intim]^ (rising to a scream). 

Whate'er can daunt a prisoner at the bar, 
AH that to mortals shows most terrible. 
Fortune appears to have array'd against us, 
In eloquence and partizanship. For 
While on the one hand the deceased's renown 
Alarms me, on the other my opponent 
With practised tongue confounds. 


Pray, Sir, subdue 
Your own o'erpowering accents, if you please. 

l'intimi^ (in an ordinary tone). 

I will : I've many others. 

(in a soft tone of voice. 
But howe'er 
His sounding periods fill me with mistrust. 
And the deceased one's fame ; yet still, my lord, 
I rest my hopes on your impartial mind. 
Before great Dandin innocence is bold. 
Before this Cato of our Norman soil ; 
This Sun of Justice that is never dim ; 
Victrix causa diis jplacuit, sed victa Catoni. 

I. B 

242 bacinb's wobks. [act in. 


Truly, lie argues well. 

So without fear 
I speak, and advocate my righteous cause. 
In Aristotle's work on " Politics" 
It has been said full well — 


The question, Sir, 
Concerns a capon, and not politics. 


Yes, but the Stagirite's authority 
Would prove that good and evil — 


I maintain 
That Aristotle has no locus standi here. 
Come to the facts. 


Pausanias in his book — 

Discuss the facts. 




Facts, I say, 

The great James — 


Pacts, facts, facts ! 




I will sum up. 



You are so quick, my lord. 

(speaking rapidly.) 
The facts are these. A dog invades a kitchen, 
And finds a capon there of good proportions. 
Now, he for whom I speak is very himgry. 
He against whom I speak lies ready pluck'd, 
Then he whose cause I plead, with stealthy step 
Draws near, and grabs him against whom I*ve spoken. 
A warrant's issued, he's arrested, counsel 
Are caU'd, a day is fix'd, I am to speak, 
I speak, and I have spoken. There, — ^I've done ! 


Tut, tut ! A pretty way to state a case ! 
His pace is slow and stately while he utters 
Irrelevant remarks ; but, when he comes 
To facts, he gallops. 

The best part came first. 


Kay, worst. That's not the proper way to plead. 
What say the public ? 


Quite in th' latest fashion. 

l'intim:^ (in an impassioned tone). 

What happens next ? They come, — how do they come ? 

They chase my client, break into a house, — 

Whose house ? Your house, my lord, — our judge's house ; 

The cellar is invaded, where we fled ; 

We are accused of theft and brigandage, 

Dragg'd out, and given over to our foes. 

To Master Petit- Jean. You'll bear me out, 

My lord, that in the Digest 8i quia canis, — 

244 bacike'b wobes. [act in. 

De vi — and paragraph caponihiSt 

The law condemns an outrage of th'is kind ; 

And even were it true my client Q-inger 

Had eaten all or part of the said capon. 

All he had done before should be consider'd 

In mitigation of his punishment. 

When has my client merited rebuke ? 

Has not your house by him been safely guarded ? 

When has he f aiFd to bark at robbers* footsteps ? 

Witness three proctors, who by Q-inger here 

Had their gowns torn. See, I produce the pieces. 

Will you have other proofs of his good conduct ? 


Ah, Master Adam — 


Peace ! 


But, L'lntim^ — 



You are growing hoarse. 


Compose yourself, and finish. 

l'intime (in a drawling tone). 

Since I may, — 
Take breath, — and am forbidden, — to prolong,- 
My speech, — I will without prevarication 
Compendiously express, explain, unfold 
Before your eyes the transcendental truth 
Of this my cause, and of the facts involved. 

Leave me alone. 



Let him saj all, and say it twenty times, 
Eather than such abridgment. Be you human, 
Or fiend incarnate, end — or Heav'n confound you ! 

I've nearly done. 





Ere the world was made- 


Let us get on, Sir, to the deluge. 


The world was made, before it was created, 
The world and all the universe lay buried 
In the abyss of matter. Earth and Air, 
Water and Fire, — all the elements, 
Heap'd in confusion, swallowed up in space ; 
A shapeless, indistinguishable mass 
Form'd one vast chaos, where no order reign'd; 
Unus erat toto Natubje vxtltits in obbe, 


(Dandin goes to sleep, and turriblea off his chair,) 


Oh, father! What a fall! 


He's fast asleep ! 

Eather, wake up. 


Sir, are you dead? 

246 bacike'b wobkb. [act in* 


My father ! 


Well, well, what is it ? What a man he is ! 
I've never had so sound a nap before. 


Give sentence, father. 


To the galleys with him t 


A dog sent to the galleys ! 


Faith, I know 
Nothing about the matter. My head's full 
Of chaos and confusion. 

L'iNTiMi (exhibiting some pu^^pies)^ 

Come, poor children. 
Come, cruel hearts would leave you fatherless ; 
Come, let your innocence for mercy plead. 
Yes, here you may behold our misery ; 
Make us not orplMins, give us back our father, 
Our father, he to whom we owe our life. 
Our father, who— 


Quick, quick, take them away. 

Our father — 


What a hubbub ! Take them off ; 
They're messing all the place. 


See, we are weeping. 



My heart already melts with sympathy ; 

Oh ! 'tis a sight to touch a father's heart ! 

I'm terribly perplex'd. The truth is clear ; 

Th' offence is proved ; he has himself coufess'd it. 

But, if he be condemn'd, how hard the fate 

Of these poor children, left to charity ! 

I've an engagement, — ^no one must disturb me. 

Scene 4. 

Dandin, Leandeb, Chicakeav, Isabellb, Petit-Jean, 

My lord — 

DANDIN (to Petit-Jean cmd L'Intime). 

Yes, I will hear you, and you only. 

(to Chicaneau.) 
Good day. But tell me, please, who is that child ? 


That is my daughter. 


Quick, then, call her back. 


You are engaged. 


No matter, I assure you, 

{to Chicaneau.) 
You might have told me that you were her father. 



248 bacinb's works. [act hi. 


Let her speak, she knows your biisiness best. 


Speak, dear — ^How pretty, and what charming eyes ! 
But that's not all. You must be wise as well. 
It does me good to see such youth and beauty. 
I've been a gay young fellow in my day. 
And been much talk'd about. 


I well believe it. 


Tell me, now, who you wish should lose his cause. 


No one. 


For you I will do anything. 


I am sure I'm much obliged to you. 


Hast ever witnessed anybody tortured? 


No, and I trust I never shall, my lord. 


If you would like it, you shall see it done. 


Ah ! could one ever see poor wretches suffer ? 


It serves to pass away an hour or two. 



Mj lord, I come to tell you — 


I can state 
The whole affair, my father, in two words ; 
It is about a marriage. You must know 
That all is settled, and your sanction only 
Is wanting. Both the lovers long to wed. 
The father to his daughter's wish consents. 
Will you confirm the contract ? 

DANDIN (resuming his seat). 

Let them marry 
Without delay, to-morrow if they please. 
To-day if need be. 


See, my father's yours, 
Greet him, my love. 


How's this? 


What myst'ry's here? 


Tour judgment is precisely carried out. 


I can't revoke the sentence Tve pronoimced. 


But surely you'll consult my daughter's wishes. 


By all means. Let fair Isabelle decide. 

260 baciwe's works. [act in. 


Well, are you dumb ? It is your turn to speak. 


I do not dare to appeal against the judgment. 


rU do it, then. 

LEANDEB (sTiotcing him ajpwper). 

Look at this writing, Sir. 
You will not challenge your own signature ? 


What is it, pray ? 


A marriage contract, Sir, 
All duly sign'd and seal'd. 


I have been trick'd, 
But m have satisfaction. This shall lead 
To twenty lawsuits. If you get my daughter. 
You shall not get my money. 


Give me your daughter, I want nothing else. 




Father, are you pleased with your day's work ? 


Right well. Let suits flow in abimdantly. 
And I will pass my life with you, content. 
The advocates, however, must not be 
So lengthy. What about the culprit ? 



Pardon him. Let us all rejoice to-day. 


Well, let him go. 


For your sake, dear, he's free, 
m take a holiday, then try new cases. 

X<^\ C-M^) 







EXCEPT in the matter of chronological accuracy, the 
" Annals of Tacitus " have been closely followed as 
the historical groundwork of this tragedy, but Bacine him- 
self tells us that it cost him more pains in its composition 
than any other of his plays, and the result of this elabora- 
tion is that the hand of the artist has not been able to con- 
ceal its art under the semblance of spontaneous nature. 

"Britannicus" was first acted at the Hotel de Bour- 
gogne, in December, 1669. It met with much adverse 
criticism, and was slow in establishing itself in public 
favour ; nor is this to be wondered at, for it requires care- 
ful study to appreciate its merits, and Voltaire has aptly 
termed it "la piece des connoisseurs." The strongest 
character is Nero's mother, Agrippina. Nero himself, 
Burrus, and Narcissus are also well drawn, but Britannicus 
and Junia are insipid and uninteresting. 


Nero, emperor j son of Affrijppina, 

BRiTANivicns, son o/Messalina and of the emperor Claudius, 

AoKiFPiirjL, tpidovf of Domitius Ahenobarhus, the father of Nero, and 

widow by her second marriage of the emperor Claudius. 
JuMiA, beloved by Briiannicus. 
BuRRUS, tutor of Nero, 
Narcissus^ tutor of Britannicus, 
Albina, cof^fideniial firiend of Agrippina, 

The scene is laid at Rome, in a chamber of Nero's palace. 



Scene 1. 
Ageippina, Albina. 


Whilst Nero courts soft slumbers, why should you 

Come here to tarry his awakening ? 

Shall Caesar's mother wander thro* these halls, 

And, unattended, watch beside his door, 

Alone ? Betire to your apartments, Madam. 


I must not leave him for a single moment. 
Here will I wait for him, engross'd with cares 
He causes me, so long as he may sleep. 
All I foretold is but too well confirmed ; 
Nero has doom'd the prince Britannicus. 
Nero has thrown the reins on his impatience ; 
Weary of being loved, he fain would be 
A terror. Young Brittanicus torments him, 
And every day I feel myself becoming, 
In my turn, irksome. 


Tou, to whom he owes 
The breath of life, who call'd him to the throne 
From his low station, disinheriting 
The son of Claudius, that Domitius might 
Bear Caesar's name ? All speaks on your behalf, 
And claims his love. 

258 eacinb's wobks. [act i. 


'Tis due to me, Albina ; 
All I have done would win a generous heart, 
But all is odious to ingratitude. 


Ingratitude ? Nay, all his conduct shows 
A soul well taught to heed the voice of duty. 
For three whole years what has he said or done 
But what gives Eome the promise of a reign 
Of perfect justice ? Under his mild sway 
She deems the days retum'd when consuls bore 
Authority supreme. Paternal rule 
Marks the young Nero virtuous as Augustus 
In his old age. 


Nay, interest cannot make 
Me blind. 'Tis true that Nero has begun 
E'en as Augustus ended, but the future 
May make the past forgotten, and I fear 
As one began, so will the other end. 
Disguise is vain ; I read upon his brow 
The savage bent of a Domitius 
Mix'd with Neronic pride derived from me. 
The face of Tyranny is ever mild 
At first ; e'en Caius once was Rome's delight. 
But his feign'd clemency soon tum'd to madness. 
And Rome's delight became her detestation. 
What matters it to me, in any case, 
Tho' Nero's virtues should remain unsullied ? 
Did I commit to him the helm of State, 
That he might please the people and the senate ? 
The father of his country let him be. 
If so he will, but let him not forget 
His mother's claims. How can that crime be call'd 
Which daylight has reveal'd ? He knows full well 
That Junia by Britannicus is loved ; 
And this same Nero, who is virtue's model, 
Makes night the screen to have her carried ofE ! 
What moves him ? Is it hatred, or desire ? 


Is it his only joy to injure them ? 
Or does his malice visit on their heads 
Spite against me for lending them support ? 


How lending them support ? 


Hush, dear Albina ; 
I know to me alone they owe their ruin ; 
That 'twas by me Britannicus was hurl'd 
Down from the throne that he inherited ; 
That Junia's brother cast away his life, 
Debarred by me from marriage with Octavia, 
Silanus, upon whom Claudius had cast 
An eye of favour, heir of great Augustus. 
Nero has all, and I, for my reward, 
Must hold the balance evenly between them, 
That some day, in his turn, Britannicus 
May do the same between my son and me. 


With what design ? 


I thus secure a port 
Against the coming storm. I cannot hold him, 
Save with this bridle. 


But against a son 
Such care is surely vain. 


I should soon fear him, 
If he fear'd me no longer. 


Your alarm 
Perchance is groundless. But if Nero fails 
In filial duty we have fail'd to mark ^ 

260 eacine's wobks. [act i 

The change, and these are secrets between him 
And you, Whate'er new titles Rome bestows, 
Nero confers them all upon his mother. 
His lavish love withholds not aught from you ; 
Your name in Rome is reverenced like his own. 
Whilst poor Octavia is scarcely mention'd. 
Your ancestor Augustus honour'd less 
His Livia. The fasces, deck'd with bays, 
March before Nero's mother, ne'er before 
Had woman such distinction. How should he 
Display his gratitude ? 


With less respect, 
And greater confidence. I scorn such honours. 
Seeing my influence wanes as these increase. 
The time is gone, when Nero, still a youth, 
Answer'd the wishes of my doting heart, 
When upon me he lean'd in every strait, 
When my command gather'd the senate here. 
And present, tho' conceal'd behind a screen. 
Mine was the animating touch that moved them* 
Uncertain then of Rome's capricious will, 
His greatness had not tum'd the monarch's head* 
My memory with pain recalls the day 
When first I found him dazzled with the glare 
Of glory ; many a potentate had sent 
From Earth's remotest realms envoys to greet him* 
I went to take my place upon the throne 
Beside him ; by whose counsel he disgraced me 
I know not, but, as soon as he perceived me. 
He show'd displeasure on his countenance. 
Whereby my heart grew ominous of ill. 
Then with a feign'd respect that mask'd the insult. 
He quickly rose, and, running to embrace me, 
Tum'd my approaching footsteps from the throne- 
Since that hard blow has Agrippina's pow'r 
Been hurrying to its fall with rapid pace. 
All but the shadow gone, my favour's sought 
Less than the voice of Seneca or Burrus. 



Ah, if your heart is fill'd with such suspicions. 
Why keep the fatal poison in your breast ? 
Go, and at Caesar's lips resolve your doubts. 


Others are always by when Csesar sees me, 
He gives me audience at fix*d times, in public ; 
He answers or is silent as he's prompted. 
We have two masters, and with watchful eye 
One or the other marks each interview. 
But I will follow him the more he shuns me. 
And turn his own confusion to my profit. 
I hear his door unfasten' d. Let us go, 
And ask him what he means by this abduction, 
And, unawares, he may the truth reveal. 
Ha, Burrus ! He has been with him already. 

Scene 2. 
Agrippina, Bubbus, Albina. 


Madam, I come to tell you, in the name 

Of Caesar, that an order which alarm 'd you 

Is but a wise precaution, and of this 

The Emperor wills that you should be inf orm'd. 


7 hen let us enter, since it is his pleasure. 
And learn his purpose better. 


For some time 
Caesar has sought seclusion. Bf a postern, 
Unknown to many, both the consuls came 
Before you, Madam. But I will return, — 

262 racine's works. [act i. 


No, I will not disturb his privacy ; 

But let us two, with somewhat less constraint, 

For once with frankness interchange our thoughts. 


The tongue of Burrus ever scom'd a falsehood. 


How long do you intend to hide him from me ? 

Am I for ever to be held intrusive 

When I would see him ? Have I raised you then 

So high, only to have you place a bar 

Between my son and me ? Dare you not trust him 

A moment out of sight ? Do you dispute 

With Seneca the glory of efEacing 

His mother's image from his memory ? 

And has my trust fed your ingratitude. 

Till 'neath the shadow of his name you rule 

Supreme ? I cannot think that you would make me. 

Who might have left you in obscurity, 

Your creature, — me, whose ancestors have fill'd 

The throne, — ^me, daughter, sister, wife, and mother 

Of your imperial masters. What, then, mean you ? 

Thmk you my voice has made an emperor 

Only to place two others over me ? 

Nero's no more a child ; is it not time 

He ceased to fear you, and began to reign ? 

How long must he see all things thro' your eyes ? 

There are ancestral models he may copy. 

And choose between Tiberius and Augustus, 

Or follow, if he can, Germanicus, 

My sire. I dare not rank myself with these, 

But there are lessons he may learn from me. 

At any rate, the caution that imposes 

Due limits to a prince's confidence 

In any subject. 

* BURRtrS. 

I am charged to-day 
T' excuse a single act on Ceesar's part ; 


But since, without desiring my defence, 

You lay on me the blame for all his deeds, 

I'll answer with the candour of a soldier, 

TWio knows not, Madam, how to gloze the truth. 

To me you trusted Caesar's youthful years, 

I own it, and am bound ne'er to forget it ; 

But have I ever sworn I would betray him. 

Or make him do your will in everything ? 

I am no more responsible to you. 

But to imperial Rome, which in my hands 

Sees safety or destruction. He who once 

Was son of yours is master of the world. 

If those were sought who might cajole his youth. 

Could only Seneca and I mislead ? 

Why were not flatterers suff er'd to direct him ? 

Were we recall'd from exile as corrupters ? 

Could not the servile court of Claudius furnish 

A thousand fitter than ourselves, all ea^er 

To raise themselves by Ceesar's degradation, 

Till he grew old in long protracted childhood ? 

What would you. Madam ? Are you not respected ? 

Is not your name held sacred, link'd with Caesar's ? 

The Emperor, 'tis true, no longer comes 

Daily to lay his sceptre at your feet. 

And pay you humble court. But gratitude 

Need not involve dependence so unworthy. 

Must Nero always be a timid child. 

Nor dare, except in name, to be Augustus ? 

Rome, let me tell you, justifies his conduct, 

So long in bondage to three base-bom upstarts ; 

And, only just relieved from yoke so galling. 

Dates her recover'd liberty from Nero ! 

Nay more. E'en Virtue's self seems bom anew, 

And to be master means no more to plunder ; 

The People freely choose their magistrates ; 

Those whom the soldiers trust are made commanders ; 

Still faithful in the army and the senate 

Are Corbulo and Thrasea, tho' in fame 

The foremost. Desert isles, which senators 

Peopled with exiles, hold th' informers now* 

What matters it that Nero trusts us still, 

264 bacine's wobks. [act i. 

Provided that our counsels aid his glory. 

And Rome, throughout a prosperous reign, have freedom 

Unfailing as th' omnipotence of CsBsar ? 

But Nero, Madam, does not need our guidance ; • 

Our part is to obey, not to direct him. 

He has examples in his ancestors. 

Whereby to regulate his steps aright ; 

And happy he if, link'd in one long chain. 

His later virtues vie with those of youth ! 


So, daring not to count upon the future, 

You think your prince will go astray without you. 

Do you, who, thus far with your work content. 

Come hither to bear witness of his virtues. 

Tell me why Nero has become a robber, 

And carried off the sister of Silanus ? 

Is it to sully by so gross an insult 

My ancestors whose blood fills Junia's veins ? 

Of what does he accuse her ? By what crime 

Has she, in one day, grown so dangerous ; 

She who, till then, bore grandeur modestly ; 

Who, but for this night's work, would ne'er have seen him. 

And would have counted it a signal favour 

Had she been kept for ever from his sight ? 


She's under no suspicion of a crime. 
Nor has the emperor as yet condemn'd her. 
There is no object here to wound her eyes, 
She is at home among her ancestors. 
Her title to the throne is strong enough 
To make her husband raise an insurrection ; 
'Tis right that Caesar's blood should be allied 
Only to such as Caesar well can trust ; 
Nor without his consent, as you must own. 
Should any wed the offspring of Augustus. 


I understand you ; Nero, by your mouth. 
Tells me Britannicus relies in vain 


Upon iny choice ; that I have vainly sought 

To turn his eyes from his misfortunes with 

A bait so tempting. 'Tisthc^ Emperor's will 

To show that Agrippina promises 

More than she can fulfil ; Rome rates too highly 

A mother's influence ; and by this affront 

He'll undeceive her, and teach all the world 

Not to confound an emperor vrith a son. 

This he may do. Yet am I bold to tell him 

To make his sceptre strong before he strikes. 

In forcing me to match my feeble arm 

Against him, he betrays how weak his own is ; 

And it may be that, in the balance tested, 

My name will have more weight than he supposes. 


What ! will you always doubt your son's respect ? 

Can he not take one step but you mistrust it ? 

How can he think you Junia's partisan, 

Or reconciled to young Britannicus ? 

Will you support your foes, that you may find 

A pretext for complaining against him ? 

At every trivial rumour that you hear, 

Will you be always ready to divide 

The empire ? Shall continual dread possess you, 

That asks solution e'en when you embrace him ? 

Be not so careful to find food for censure, 

But exercise a mother's fond indulgence. 

Suffer some slight rather than make it public. 

Lest so the Court be taught to disregard you. 


And who would seek support from Agrippina, 
When Nero doth himself proclaim my ruin. 
When he would have me banish'd from his presence. 
And Burrus dares to keep me at his threshold ? 


Madam, I see 'tis time that I were silent, 
My frankness only causes your displeasure. 

266 bacinb's wobes. [act i. 

Pain is unjust ; and all the arguments 
That fail to soothe it aggravate suspicion. 
Here comes Britannicus. I will retire, 
And you shall hear with pity his disgrace. 
Blaming for that, it may be, Madam, those 
Whose counsels Caesar has least deign'd to follow. 

Scene 3. 
Agrippina, Beitannicus, Naecissus, Albina. 


Whither so fast? What restless ardour, Prince, 
Casts you thus blindly in the midst of foes ? 
Whom do you come to seek ? 


Whom seek ? By Heav'n, 
Here, madam, here is all that I have lost. 
Hemm'd in by multitudes of savage troops. 
Hither has Jimia been ignobly dragg'd, 
Alas, what horror must her timid heart 
Have felt at such unwonted spectacle ! 
Yes, they have torn her from me. Cruel mandate, 
That parts two lovers misery united ! 
Doubtless they grudged that we, mingling our sorrows, 
Should help each other to endure our woes. 


Enough. I feel your wrongs as much as you do ; 
And my complaints have gone before your murmurs. 
But I am well aware that helpless anger 
Does not absolve me of my solemn promise. 
You do not comprehend me. Would you do so. 
Follow my steps to Pallas. There PU wait you. 


Scene 4. 
Beitannicus, Naecissus. 


Najcissus, can I trust her word and make 
Her umpire in my quarrel with her son ? 
What say you ? Is she not that Agrippina 
Whom erst my father married, to my ruin, 
And who, you say, finding his ebbing life 
Too long for her, cut the last remnant short ? 


No matter. She, like you, feels herself outraged. 
Has she not promised you the hand of Junia ? 
Unite your griefs, combine your interests ; 
This palace vainly echoes your regrets ; 
And, whilst with suppliant voice you here are seen 
Spreading complaints aroimd instead of terrors. 
Your fierce resentment lost in idle words. 
Without a doubt you will complain for 6ver. 


You know. Narcissus, whether I intend 

To be inured to tame submissiveness. 

If, by my fall affrighted, I renounced 

The throne for ever which my birthright gave me. 

But I am still alone. My father's friends 

Are grown such strangers as to chill my heart ; 

And those who in the Court rest true to me 

Yet hold themselves aloof from one so young. 

After the brief experience of a year 

Has made me know how wretched is my lot. 

What see I round me but false friends subom'd 

To watch my every step with sleepless eyes ? 

Chosen by Nero for so base an office. 

They seU to him the secrets of my soul. 

And daily take their profit out of me. 

268 Racine's works. [act i. 

He sees my aims beforehand, hears my converse. 
And knows what passes in my breast as well 
As you. What thinks Narcissus ? 


Feeble-minded — 
You should choose friends on whom you can rely. 
Nor be so lavish of your secrets, Sir. 


Narcissus, you say true ; but this mistrust 

A noble heart is ever slow to learn. 

Too long deceived ; but I believe in you. 

Or rather I have vow'd to trust no other. 

My father oft assured me of your zeal. 

Of all his f reedmen, you alone have proved 

Faithful, and kept your eyes open to aid me, 

Saving me still from countless hidden rocks. 

Go, see then if the noise of this new storm 

Has fann'd the smouldering courage of my friends ; 

Watch well their eyes, attend to their discourse, 

See if I may expect true help from them ; 

But chiefly in this palace well observe 

With what precautions Nero guards the princess. 

Learn if her precious life is out of danger. 

And if I still may be allow'd to see her. 

Meanwhile to Nero's mother I'll repair, 

She is with Pallas, whom my father freed. 

As he did you. I'll stir her wrath, and, may be. 

Fledge her to move farther than she intends. 



Scene 1. 
Neeo, Bureits, Naecissus, Guaeds. 


BuTTus, be sure of this I tho' she's unjust, 

She is my mother, and I'll take no notice 

Of her caprices ; but I will not spare 

The underling who dares to foster them. 

Pallas instils his poison in her ears, 

And every day corrupts Britannicus ; 

His voice alone they hear, and, if we foUow'd 

Their steps, with Pallas we perhaps should find them. 

I've borne too much, he must be parted from them. 

Tor the last time I say it, let him go ; 

'Tis my command, and, ere this day is done, 

My Court and Bome too must be quit of them. 

Despatch, the safety of the State's concem'd. 

Come here, Narcissus. 

(to the Quarda.) 
Let my guards retire. 

Scene 2. 
Neeo, Naecissus. 

naecissus. ' 

Thank Heav'n, my lord, Junia is in your hands. 
And so to-day the peace of Rome's secured ; 
Your enemies, cast down from their vain hopes. 
Have gone to Pallas to bewail their weakness. 
But what is this ? I see you vex'd, confounded, 
And more dismay'd than is Britannicus. 
What does that frowning air of gloom portend. 

270 racine's wobks. [act ir. 

Those random looks that roam uneasily ? 

All smiles on you, and Fortune crowns your wishes. 


The die is cast, Narcissus ; Nero loves. 


You, Sire? 


A moment since, — and yet for ever. 
Love, said I love ? Nay, Junia is my idol. 


What, you love her ? 


My curiosity 
Moved me this night to see her on arrival 
Here. She was sad, and raised to Heav*n her eyes 
Tear-stain'd, that shone amid the flash of arms ; 
In beauty unadom'd, in simple garb, 
As when they seiz'd her in her sleep. I know not 
Whether that disarray, the torch-lit darkness, 
The cries that broke the silence, and the faces 
Of her ferocious ravishers, enhanced 
The timid sweetness of those lovely eyes ; 
But, with so fair a spectacle entranced, 
I tried to speak, but felt myself tongue-tied ; 
Amazement seized me, and I could not move. 
And suffered her to pass to her apartments. 
I sought my chamber. There, in solitude, 
Yainly I tried to turn my thoughts from her ; 
But, ever present to my eyes, I seem'd 
To talk with her. I loved the very tears 
I caused to flow. And sometimes, but too late, 
I sued for her forgiveness, and my sighs 
Ended in threats. Thus, nursing my new passion, 
I have not closed mine eyes, that watch'd for dayl^ht. 
But I may conjure up too fair an image 
Of her whom I beheld at such advantage. 
What says Narcissus ? 



Who*d believe, my lord, 
That she has lived so long by you unseen ? 


You know it well. Narcissus. Moved by wrath. 

That held me guilty of her brother's death. 

Or treasuring with jealous care a pride 

Severe, that grudged mine eyes her dawning charms ; 

True to her grief, and courting dim seclusion. 

She stole away, and shunn'd all admiration : 

And 'tis this virtue, to the Court so new. 

That in its perseverance piques my love. 

Is there another damsel here in Eome 

Who, if I loved her, would not grow more vain 

At such an honour ? Is there one but tries 

Her amorous glances upon Csesar's heart. 

Soon as she learns their pow'r ? She alone. 

The modest Junia, scorns the boon they covet, 

Nor deigns, it may be, e'en to seek to learn 

If Csesar merits love, or knows its rapture. 

Tell me, is young Britannicus her lover ? 


Her lover, asks my liege ? 


He is too young 
To know himself, or love's enchanting poison. 


Love never waits for reason, good my lord. 
Doubt not, he loves. Taught by such potent charms, 
His eyes have leam'd to melt with tenderness ; 
He knows how best to meet her slightest wish. 
And, it may be, already can persuade her. 


What? Can the boy have won her heart's allegiance ? 

272 eacine's woeks. [act ii. 


T know Dot, Sire. But what I can, Til tell you : 
I've seen him sometimes tear himself away, 
Full of a wrath which he conceals from you, 
Vex'd at the Court's ingratitude that shuns him, 
Chafing against your pow'r and his subjection ; 
Fear and impatience swaying him in turn, 
He goes to Junia, and returns contented. 


The more unhappy he, for learning how 

To please her. He should rather wish her anger ; 

Nero will not be jealous without vengeance. 


You, Sire ? And why should you be ill at ease ? 

Junia has pitied him, and shared his sorrows ; 

Sure she has seen no other tears than his. 

But now, my lord, that, with her eyes unseaVd, 

She shall behold, so near, your royal splendour. 

And kings imcrown'd stand in attendance round you, 

Unknown amidst the crowd her lover too. 

Hang on your eyes, and honoured by a look 

Which you, my prince, may chance to cast upon them ; 

When she shall see you, from that height of glory 

Come to confess her victory with sighs. 

The master of a heart already charm'd. 

You'll have but to command, and she will love you. 


How much chagrin must I prepare to meet ! 
What wearisome entreaties ! 


Why, who hinders 
My lord's good pleasure ? 


All — Octavia, Burrus, 
Seneca, Agrippina, Eome herself. 


Three years all stainless. Not that for Octavia 

Kemains one tender relic of the tie 

That bound us. Long since weary of her love 

Earely mine eyes deign to behold her tears ; 

Happy, if soon the favour of divorce 

Relieve me of a yoke imposed by force ! 

The gods themselves have secretly condemn'd her ; 

Four years her earnest pra/rs have fruitless proved, 

They show not that her virtue touches them 

By honouring her couch with any pledge ; 

And vainly does the State demand an heir. 


Why hesitate, my lord, to cast her off ? 

Your sceptre and your heart alike condemn her. 

Did not Augustus, when he sigh'd for Livia, 

By twin divorce imite her to himself ? 

And to that lucky severance you owe 

The crown. Tiberius, whom his marriage link'd 

With him and you, dared to repudiate 

The daughter e'en before the father's eyes. 

You only, thwarting your own wish, refuse 

A course so welcome. 


Know you not the rage 
Of Agrippina ? Her I seem to see 
Bringing to me Octavia, and with eye 
Of fury bidding me respect a bond 
So sacred, tied by her, and charging me 
In no soft terms with long ingratitude. 
How shall I face her violent attacks ? 


Be your own master. Sire, and hers a's well. 
Will you submit to tutelage for ever ? 
Reign for yourself ; too long you've reign'd for her. 
Fear you to do so ? Nay, you fear her not : 
Have you not just now banish'd haughty Pallas, 
Whose insolence you know that she supports ? 

274 eacine's works. [act ii. 


Out of her sight, I threaten or command, 

List to your counsels, venture to approve them ; 

My temper rises, and I think to brave her ; 

But I will lay my feelings bare before you. 

Soon as ill luck into her presence brings me. 

Either I dare not then disown the spell 

Of eyes where I have read my duty long. 

Or the remembrance of past kindness grants 

To her control of all that she has giv'n. 

And all my efforts are of no avail ; 

My spirit trembles, overawed by hers. 

And 'tis to free myself from this dependence, 

I everywhere avoid and so offend her, 

Nor spare from time to time to rouse her anger, 

That she may shun me, as I fly from her. 

But I too long detain you : go, Narcissus, 

Lest to Britannicus you seem intriguer. 


No, no ; I have his perfect confidence : 

He thinks I see you. Sire, by his command, 

To hear from you all that concerns himself. 

And by my mouth would learn your secret plans. 

Impatient to behold his love once more. 

He waits the aid my trusty cares may bring him. 


Thereto I give consent. Yes, he shall see her : 
Convey the pleasing news. 


Banish him from her. 


I have my reasons. Trust me, good Narcissus, 
He shall not see her without paying dearly. 
But boast to him of your successful scheme, 


Tell him that I have been deceived myself, 

And that he sees her without my permission. 

She comes. Gro, find your master ; bring him here. 

Scene 3. 
Neeo, Jfnia. 


Your cheek is pale, and you seem anxious, lady. 
Bead you some gloomy presage in my eyes ? 


I cannot hide from you, Sire, my mistake ; 
I thought to see not Caesar, but Octavia. 


I know it, Madam, and Octavia's fortune 

In gaining your good graces makes me envious. 


You, Sire ? 


And think you that Octavia only 
Within these walls has eyes to see your merits ? 


Whom else can I implore to pity me, 
And tell what crime I've unawares committed ? 
You punish it, my lord, and needs must know it : 
Let Junia learn her fault, I do beseech you. 


Is it a light offence, then, to have kept 
So long your beauty in concealment, Madam ? 
Has bounteous Heav*n its choicest gifts bestow'd. 
That you should bury what was meant to shine ? 

276 SACINE's WOEK8. [act II. 

Is not Britannicus afraid to hide 

His growing passion and your charms from us ? 

Why, till to-day, have you so ruthlessly 

Made us an exile in our Court from eyes 

So bright? 'Tis said too. Madam, you permit 

Without offence his amorous overtures : 

111 not believe that you have favour'd them 

Without consulting us, nor been so heedless 

Of due decorum, as to plight your troth. 

And leave us to the voice of common rumour 

For information. 


I confess, my lord, 
His sighs have sometimes told his heart's desires. 
With eyes for ever fix'd upon a maid. 
Sole relic of a famous family, 
He thinks, perhaps, of how in happier days 
His father destined her to be his bride : 
He loves me, heeding his imperial sire, 
Your mother's wish, — and may I add your own ? 
Your will is ever so conformed to hers, — 


My mother has her views, and I have mine. 
We'll speak no more of her and Claudius ; 
'Tis not their choice that can determine mine ; 
I, and I only, must decide for you. 
And at my hands I'll have you choose a husband* 


My lord, bethink you that another union 
Would bring dishonour on my ancestors. 


Lady, not so ; the spouse of whom I speak 
Need feel no shame to range his parentage 
With yours. You may consent without a blush 
To his addresses. 



Who, then, is he. Sire ? 


Madam, myself. 




I would name another. 
If other name I knew higher than Nero's. 
My eyes have search'd the Court, Rome, and the world. 
To choose you such a partner as might meet 
Your approbation ; and the more I seek 
Into what hands this treasure may be trusted, 
The more I see CsBsar alone deserves 
To hold it, he alone deserves your love. 
And should entrust you to no hands but those 
To which the empire of the world's committed. 
Do you, yourself, recall your earliest years. 
When Claudius betrothed you to his son ; 
'Twas at a time when he intended naming 
That son, one day, the heir of all his empire. 
The gods declared for me, — oppose them not. 
But follow where they point to sovereignty. 
Vainly have they bestow*d this signal honour. 
Unless your heart should be united with it ; 
If cares so great be soothed not by your smiles. 
If, while I give to vigilant alarms 
Those days, by others envied, grudged by me, 
I may not breathe some moments at your feet. 
Let not Octavia's image cloud your eyes ; 
Eome, like myself, to you her suffrage gives. 
Rejects Octavia, and would have me loose 
A marriage tie that Heav'n itself disowns. 
Consider what I say and ponder well 
This choice, well worthy of a prince who loves you. 
Worthy of those bright eyes too long immured. 
And of the world to which your charms are due. 

278 eacine's works. [act ii, 


Mj lord, good cause have I to stand astonish'd : 
AU in the course of one short day I see 
Myself brought hither as a criminal, 
And, when I, trembling, come before your eyes. 
Hardly confiding in my innocence, 
At once you ofEer me Octavia's place. 
Yet am I bold to say I have deserved 
Neither this dazzling honour, nor this insult. 
And can you wish, my liege, that a poor maid. 
Who, almost soon as she was bom, beheld 
Her home destroyed, and, in obscurity 
Nursing her sorrow, leam'd to be resign'd. 
Should, at a single step, pass from such darkness 
To sit where all the world may gaze upon her, 
In brilliance that she shrank from, seen afar. 
Usurping majesty that is another's ? 


Have I not said already, I renounce her? 
Dispel those timid fears, or bashful scruples ; 
Think not my present choice is blind and rash ; 
I know you worthy, only give consent. 
Remember from what ancestry you spring ; 
Do not prefer to those substantial honours 
Wherewith the hand of Caesar would endue you, 
The glory of refusal, to be followed 
By vain regrets. 


Heav'n knows my secret thoughts. 
I take no pride in a vainglorious boast. 
And know the greatness of the prize you ofEer ; 
But all the more should I, the brighter shone 
My fortune, be ashamed to face the guilt « 
Of having plundered her whose right it is. 


Nay, you consult her interests too much. 

The claims of friendship scarce can reach so far. 


But let VLB leave delusions, and be plain ; 

The sister moves you less than does the brother, 

And for Britannicus — 


He has known how 
To touch my heart, and freely I confess it. 
Such frankness may, perchance, be indiscreet. 
But never have my lips belied my heart. 
In absence from the Court I could not think 
That I had need to learn the art of feigning. 
I love Britannicus, his destined bride 
When marriage was to lead to sovereignty ; 
But that ill fate which has denied the throne, 
His honours fled, his palace desolate. 
The courtiers whom his fall has banish'd from him. 
Serve but as ties to Junia's constancy. 
Here all thin^ minister to your desires ; 
Your days flow calmly by in ceaseless pleasures, 
Th' exhaustless source thereof your sovereign pow'r ; 
Or, if some trouble mar their placid course. 
The universe solicitous to please you, 
Hastens to blot it from your memory. 
Lonely the lot of poor Britannicus ; 
In all his sorrows he has me alone 
To sympathize, my tears his only solace, 
That lead him sometimes to forget his woes. 


Ah, 'tis that solace and those tears I envy. 
For them another with his life should pay ; 
But milder treatment keep I for this prince ; 
He shall appear before you soon, fair lady. 


Your virtues, Sire, have ever reassured me. 


I might forbid him access to your presence ; 

But I would fain anticipate the danger 


280 bacine's wobks. [act ii. 

To wliich resentful wrath might carry him. 
I do not wish his death ; better that he 
Should hear his sentence from the lips he loves. 
Is his life dear to you ? Then part him from you, 
Without cause given to believe me jealous. 
Incur the odium of his banishment. 
And, whether by your words or by your silence. 
In any case by frigid looks, persuade him 
To take his wishes and his hopes elsewhere. 


I ! to pronoimce a sentence so severe ! 
My tongue will swear I meant the contrary. 
E*en could I so prove traitor to myself, 
My eyes would still forbid him to obey me. 


Curtain'd close by, I shall behold you, Madam. 
Shut up your love within your inmost heart ; 
No secret language shall escape my notice. 
Looks that you fancy mute I shall o'erhear ; 
And death to him shall be the sure reward. 
If sigh or gesture unawares betray you. 


Alas ! if I dare still form any wish. 

Grant me, my lord, that I may never see him. 

Scene 4. 
Need, Junia, Naecissits. 


Britannicus, my lord, asks for the princess ; 
He is at hand. 


Then let him enter. 





I leave yon ; and his fate on you depends 
More than on me. Bemember I sball see you. 

Scene 5. 


Ah ! dear Narcissus, run to meet your master ; 
Tell him, — Oh ! I'm undone, I see him coming. 

Scene 6. 
Beitannicus, Junia, Naecissus. 


What happiness, dear damsel, brings me near you ? 

May I then taste so sweet an interview ? 

But ah, amidst this pleasure, grief devours me 

To think I may not hope to see you more. 

Now must I steal, with many a subterfuge, 

A privilege that erst you granted daily. 

Ah ! what a night I've pass'd, with what awakening 1 

Your tears have not disarm'd our cruel foes ! 

What was your lover doing ? Did some god 

Grudge me the boon of dyii^ at your feet ? 

Alas ! Have you in secret, struck with terror. 

Made your complaint to me ? Have you, my princess. 

Vouchsafed to breathe a wish that I were with you ? 

Thought you upon the woes that you would cost me ? 

What ! say you nought, looking as cold as ice ? 

Is't thus you comfort me for my disgrace ? 

Speak : we're alone. Our enemy, deceived, 

282 racinb's wobks. [act ii. 

Is busied somewhere else while we're together, 
Take full advantage of his happy absence. 


His pow'r pervades each comer of this palace, 
Its very walls, Sir, may have eyes to see us ; 
Caesar is never absent from this place. 


And how long have you been so timorous ? 
What ! does your love consent to be in bondage 
Already ? What has changed the heart that swore 
To make e'en Nero envious of our love ? 
But banish, Madam, such uncalled for fear ; 
All hearts have not yet lost their loyalty ; 
I see no eye but doth approve my anger. 
We have the Emperor's mother on our side ; 
And Eome herself, offended at his conduct, — 


Surely your tongue, Sir, contradicts your thought : 
You have yourself told me a thousand times 
That with one common voice Eome praises him ; 
You ever render'd homage to his merits, 
'Tis grief distracts you, and dictates this language. 


Your words surprise me, I must needs confess it ; 

To hear you praise him was not what I sought. 

Scarce can I seize a favourable moment 

To make you share the grief that overwhelms me. 

And these few precious moments are consumed 

In praises of the foe who crushes us ! 

How different from yourself has one day made you ! 

Why, e'en your looks have leam'd strange reticence. 

What's this ? You seem to fear to meet my eyes I 

Am I then odious ? Can it be that Nero 

Finds favour? If I thought so, — Ah, by Heav'n, 

Dispel this darkness you have cast around me. 

Speak. Is Britannicus no more remembered ? 



Pray, Sir, withdraw ; the Emperor is coming. 


This stroke, Narcissus, severs my last hope. 

Scene 7. 
Neeo, Junia, Narcissus. 


Madam, — 


No, Sire, I cannot hear a word. 
I have obey'd you. Let at least my tears 
Flow freely, now that he no more can see them. 

Scene 8. 
Neeo, Nabcissus. 


Well, my Narcissus, you have seen the ardour 
With which they love, apparent e'en in silence ! 
. My rival has her heart, tis plain enough ; 
My joy shall be to drive him to despair. 
How charmingly does fancy paint his anguish ; 
And I have seen him doubt whether she loves him, 
rU follow her. My rival waits your presence 
To vent his fury. Go, with fresh suspicions 
Torment him ; and while I witness the tears 
She fondly sheds for him, make him pay dearly 
For boon that he despises. 

NABCISSUS (alone). 

Once more Fortune 

284 bacixe's WOBK8. [act in. 

Invites me : shall I then refuse her offer ? 
Nay, to the end I'll follow her behests, 
And doom the wretched to secure my weaL 


Scene 1. 

Nkko, Bueeus. 


Pallas will be obedient. Sire. 


And how 
Has Agrippina seen her pride confounded ? 


Doubt not, your Majesty, the blow strikes home. 
And soon the storm will burst in loud reproaches. 
Her wrath has long begun to show itself, 
Nor can it stop at unavailing clamour. 


Why, what design think you she meditates ? 


Always is Agrippina to be dreaded : 

Your army and all Eome revere her lineage ; 

They ne'er forget G^rmanicus, her father. 

She knows her influence ; you know her courage ; 

And that which makes me dread her all the more 

Is that her fury by yourself is fed, 

And that you give her arms to fight against you. 



I, Burrus ? 


Yes, my lord ; that love which holds you — 


I take your meaning. But it can't be help'd : 
My own heart tells me more than you can say, 
And yet I cannot choose but love. 


'Tis fancy, 
My liege ; and, satisfied with slight resistance. 
You fear an evil feeble at its birth. 
But if your heart, strong in the course of duty, 
Eef use to hold a parley with its foe ; 
If you consult the glory of your past ; 
If you recall to your remembrance. Sire, 
Octavia's virtues of such recompense 
Unworthy, and her love proof against scorn ; 
If, more than all, avoiding Junia's presence. 
You doom your eyes to a brief spell of absence ; 
Trust me, howe'er this passion seems to charm you, 
None love, my lord, unless they wish to love. 


ril trust you, Burrus, when, 'mid war's alarms. 

Our martial glory needs your firm support ; 

Or when, in peaceful session of the senate. 

The weKare of the State demands your voice, 

I will rely on your^experience. 

But in a matter that concerns my heart 

'Tis otherwise, and I should have some scruple 

In bringing your grave judgment to such trifles. 

Farewell. I'm ill at ease awav from Junia. 

*286 bacine's woeks. [act hi. 

Scene 2. 


Nero at last shows his true character. 

Burrus, that fierceness which you thought to tame 

Is ready to break loose from, your weak bonds, 

And, like a swollen river, spread destruction ! 

How shall I act in this unhappy hour ? 

Seneca's counsels may not soothe my cares ; 

Afar from Rome, he knows not of this danger. 

Ah, if I could but touch the mother's feeling 

Of tenderness — She comes : good fortune brings her. 

Scene 3. 
AaBippiNA, BuBBUs, Albina. 


Well, Burrus, was I wrong in my suspicions ? 

You have impress' d fine lessons on your pupil ! 

Pallas is banish'd, for the crime, perchance, 

Of having raised your master to the purple. 

You know full weU that never but for him 

Would Claudius, whom he sway'd, have fathered Nero. 

You foist a rival in Octavia's place. 

And set my son free from his nuptial oath : 

Fit task for one, sworn foe to flatterers. 

Chosen to curb the wild career of youth. 

Thus to turn flatterer himself, and teach 

How he may pour contempt on wife and mother ! 


Madam, you have no cause yet to accuse me ; 
This act of Csesar's may be justified, 
Pallas has well deserved his banishment. 
Meet recompense for pride too long endured. 
The Emperor has only, with regret. 


Pulfill'd the secret wishes of his Court. 

The evil that remains admits of cure, 

Octavia's tears may at their source be dried. 

But calm your rage, there is a milder method 

That sooner will recall him to her arms. 

While threats and angry words will make him wilder. 


Ah, you will try in vain to stop my mouth. 
I see my silence but provokes your scorn ; 
My handiwork has had too much respect. 
All Agrippina's props fall not with Pallas ; 
The gods have left enough t' avenge my ruin. 
The son of Claudius begins to feel 
His wrongs, for which not I alone am guilty, 
ril show him to the army, doubt it not. 
Complain before them of his young life blasted. 
And make them, like myself, repair their erroi". 
On one side shall they see an emperor's son 
EiOclaim a faith sworn to his family. 
And hear a daughter of Germanicus ; 
Ahenobarbus' son, on th' other hand, 
With his supporters, Seneca and Burrus, 
By me recalled from exile, both of them. 
Who share the sovereign pow'r before my eyes. 
I wiU take care they know our common crimes. 
And by what paths I have conducted him. 
To make his sway and yours detestable, 
I will avow the most injurious rumours : 
All shall be told, exiles, assassinations. 
Poison itself, — 


Madam, they'll not believe you. 
They'll not be caught by your deceitful wiles. 
But know 'tis pique that prompts self -accusation. 
As to myself, who first advanced your plots, 
And made the troops swear fealty to Nero, 
My zealous efforts cause me no repentance. 
A son succeeded to his father, Madam 
For, in adopting Nero, Claudius chose 

288 eacine's woeks. [act hi. 

To give his son and yours an equal footing. 
Eome's choice has been for Nero. So she took 
Tiberius, adopted by Augustus, 
Nor wrong'd the young Agrippa, his own grandson, 
Who claimed in rain to wield th' imperial sceptre. 
His pow*r, established upon such foundations. 
Cannot be weakened by yourself to-day ; 
And, if he heeds me still, his bounty, Madam, 
Will soon remove the wish to injure him. 
I have begun the work, and will complete it. 

SceTie 4. 
Ageippina, Albina. 


In what a sea of passion grief has plunged yon ! 
And can it be that Csesar knows not of it ! 


Ah, should he venture in my sight himself, — 


Madam, in Heaven's name, conceal this choler. 
Let not your zeal for sister or for brother 
Destroy your peace for ever ! Must you check 
The Emperor even in his love affairs ? 


Ah, see you not how they would humble me, 

Albina ? 'Tis to me they give a rival : 

Soon, if I break not this ill-omen'd tie. 

My place is occupied, and I am nothing. 

Octavia has enjoy'd but hitherto 

An empty title, by the Court ignored 

As useless, and to me the eyes of all 

Have look'd for profit. Now another love 

Has cast out mine ; she, as his wife and mistress „ 


Will reign alone, and in the pomp of pow'r 
Reap the rich fruit of all my pains, as meed 
Of one kind look. Already I'm forsaken — 
I cannot, dear Albina, bear the thought. 
E'en tho' I hasten the disastrous sentence 
Of Heav'n, ungrateful Nero — 

Lo ! His rival ! 

Scene 5. 
Beitannictts, AaRiPPiNA, Naecissus, Albina. 


Our common foes are not invincible ; 
'And there are hearts can feel for our misfortunes. 
Your friends and mine, so silent hitherto. 
While we were losing time in vain regrets, 
Fired with the anger which injustice kindles, 
Have made their grievance known to good Narcissus. 
Not yet has Nero undisturb'd possession 
Of her whose conquest means my sister's shame. 
If still her wrongs can move you, he, tho' faithless. 
May be brought back to tread the path of duty. 
Sure we have half the senate on our side: 
Sylla and Piso, Plautus, — 


Prince, what say you ? 
You name the highest nobles of the State. 


Madam, I see my words have wounded you. 
And that your wrath, trembling irresolute. 
Already fears to gain all it has wish'd for. 
Nay, my disgrace has taken root too firmly ; 
You need not dread what any friend of mine 
May venture ; I have lost them all ; your prudence 
Has scatter'd them, or long a^o seduced them. 

I. u 3,c^c^ 

290 bacinb's WOBK3. [act iil 


Trust your suspicions less ; our safety, Sir, 
Depends upon our mutual understanding. 
Eely upon my word. Despite your foes, 
I will be true to all that I have promised. 
Nero is guilty, and in vain he shuns me ; 
Sooner or later he must hear his mother. 
Force and persuasion I will try by turns. 
Or, if I fail, leading your sister with me, 
I'll spread abroad my dread and her alarms. 
And make all hearts responsive to her tears. 
Earewell. On all sides I will ply th' attack ; 
And you, take my advice, avoid his presence. 

Scene 6. 
Beitannicus, Nabcisstts. 


Have you not flatter'd me with hopes fallacious ? 
Or can I place reliance on your statement ? 


You may, my prince ; but this is not the place 
Wherein this mystery must be unfolded. 
Let us go forth. What wait you for ? 


I? Wait for? 


Explain yourself. 


K scheme of yoxurs 
Could get me sight of her again, — 



Of whom ? 


My weakness makes me blush. But then more firmly 
I should meet fate. 

Deem you her true ? 


What, after all my words, 


No, I believe her false. 
Deserving hot reproach ; and yet despite 
Myself, less than I ought do I believe it. 
My stubborn heart condones her fickleness, 
Finds reason for excuse, and still adores her. 
Would I could crush my incredulity ; 
Would I could hate her with a mind at ease ! 
Yet who'd believe a heart that seem'd so noble, 
Eoe of a faithless Court from infancy, 
Could BO forget its glory, and at once 
Hatch perfidy too base for courtiers. 


Who knows if, in her long retreat, the wretch 
Xept not the Emperor's conquest in her eye? 
Sure that her beauty could not be conceal' d, 
Perhaps she fled that she might be pursued, 
Inciting Nero to the hard eam'd glory 
Of quelling pride till then invincible. 


May I not see her, then ? 


Sir, at this moment 
She listens to the voice of her new lover. 

292 SACINB^S WOBKS. [act III. 


Well, let us go. 

But whom do I behold ? 
*Tis she. 

KABCISST7S (aside). 

Great gods ! Csesar must hear of this. 

Scene 7. 
Britannicxts, Jjjnia. 


Fly, Sir, nor face a wrath that burns against you» 
Inflamed by my determined resolution. 
Nero is anger'd. I have just escaped. 
While Agrippina labours to detain him. 
Farewell. Wrong riot my love, but look to see 
The happy day when I shall be absolved 
From blame. Your image in my soul shall dwell 
For aye, and nought shall banish it. 


I know 
Your purpose. Madam : you would have me fly. 
To leave you free t' indtdge your new desire. 
While I am here, no doubt a secret shame 
Somewhat disturbs the relish of enjoyment. 
Yes, I must go ! 


Impute not. Sir, to me — 


You might have held the field a little longer. 
I murmur not that your affection's fickle, 
And that you join the side which Fortime favours ; 
That you are dazzled with imperial ^lendour, 
And, at my sister's cost, would fain enjoy it ; 


But rather that, beguiled like others now, 
You should have seem'd untouch'd bj its deceits 
So long. Despair has seized me, I confess it, 
This was the only ill I never thought 
To cope with. On my ruin I have seen 
Injustice flourish, Heav'n itself accomplice 
Of my oppressors, but such horrors have not 
Drained its full cup of wrath ; there yet remain'd 
To be by you forgotten* 


Happier moments 
Might urge my just impatience to resent 
Distrust ; but Nero threatens, danger presses. 
And I have other thoughts than to distress you. 
Go, reassure your heart, and cease complaints ; 
Nero, who heard our words, bade me dissemble. 


Ah, cruel — 


Witness of our interview. 
With eye severe he scann'd my countenance. 
Ready to make his vengeance burst on you 
If but a gesture should betray our secret. 


Nero was list'ning? Yet your eyes, the while. 
Might have look'd cold, without deceiving me ; 
They might have told me who imposed their rigour ! 
Love is not dumb, the language of the heaTt 
Is varied. One glance might have saved me woe 
Intense. There needed — 


There was need of silence 
To ^ave you. Ah, how often was my heart 
About to tell you its perplexity ! 
How many rising sighs did I suppress, 

294 bacinb's works. [act hi. 

Afraid to meet the eyes I yeam'd to look on ! 

Silence is torture when a loved one grieves, 

When to his groans we must ourselves contribute, 

Knowing we might console him by a look ! 

Yet woidd such look have caused more bitter tears ! 

At that remembrance anxious and disturb'd, 

I felt my feigning lack'd reality ; 

I fear'd the pallor of my quivering cheek, 

My eye, too plainly full of my distress ; 

I fear'd each instant Nero in his wrath 

Was coming to upbraid my want of rigour. 

For vain seem'd all my efforts to keep down 

The love I almost wish'd I ne'er had known. 

Alas, for his own peace of mind and ours 

Too clearly has he read your heart and mine ! 

Once more, go hence, and hide you from his sight. 

At fitter season all shall be explain'd, 

A thousand other secrets be discovered. 


Too much already, more than I can bear ! 
How guilty I have been, and you how kind ! 
And faiow you all that you forsake for me ? 

(Throwing himself at Jtjnia's feet} 
When may 1 at your feet blot out th' offence ? 


What are you doing ? Look, your rival comes ! 

Scens 8. 
Nebo, Bbitannigus, Junta. 


Prince, do not interrupt such charming transports. 
Madam, his thanks show you are wondrous kind : 
I have surprised him at your knees, to me 
Some gratitude is surely due as well, 


He finds this place convenient, where I keep you 
In readiness for interviews so sweet. 


I can my joy or sorrow lay before her 
Where'er her kindness grants me audience ; 
Nor has this place where you think fit to keep her 
Aught that can overawe Britannicus. 


What, see you nothing that can warn a subject 
To hold my pow'r respected, and obey me ? 


This palace saw us not brought up together. 
Me, to obey you, you, to taunt my weakness. 
The fortune of our birth ne'er made it likely 
That I should own a master in Domitius. 


Our wishes have been cross'd by destiny, 

Once I obey'd, and now your turn is come. 

If yet you have not leam'd so hard a lesson. 

That shows you're still a boy, and must be taught it. 


And who will teach me ? 


Eome, a^d all her empire. 


Does Bome among your high prerogatives 
Count cruelty and violent injustice. 
Unfair imprisonment, rape, and divorce ? 


Eome prys not with too curious regard 
Into the secrets that I choose to hide ; 
Copy her prudence. 

296 bacinb's works. [act in. 


What she thinks, we know. 


At least she holds her tongue ; do you the same. 


Thus then has Nero ceased to curb his passions ! 


Nero has ceased to care to hear you longer. 


All hearts should bless his reign for happiness. 


Happy or wretched, 'tis enough they fear me. 


I know not Junia, or such sentiments 
Would scarce be likely to win praise from her. 


If I am little skill'd how best to please her, 
I can at least punish a saucy rival. 


Whatever dangers threaten to overwhelm me, 
I fear to lose her love, and that alone. 


'Twere better wish'd for. I can say no more. 


My sole ambition is t' enjoy her favour. 


And she has pledged that favour yours for ever. 



At least I have not leam'd to play the spy 
Upon her words, but let her praise or blame me 
TJnwatch'd, nor hide myselE to shut her mouth. 


I see. Ho, guards, there ! 


What then, will you do ? 
Pardon the jealous love of one so near 
Akin. A thousand miseries he suffers ; 
Can his rare happiness excite your envy ? 
Suffer me, Sire, to knit your hearts together, 
And hide me from the eyes of both of you. 
My absence then will heal your fatal discords. 
And I will join the ranks of Vesta's virgins. 
Let not my vows be longer ground of strife 
Between you ; let them trouble Heav'n alone. 


This project is as strange as it is sudden. 
Let her be taken, guards, to her apartments ; 
And with his sister keep Britannicus. 


'Tis thus that Nero wooes a woman's heart ! 


Do not provoke him, Prince ; bend to this storm. 


Guards, do my bidding, and delay no longer. 

298 kacinb's wobks. [act hi. 

Scene 9. 
Nero, BuBBts. 


Ye gods ! What do I see ? 

NEBO (loithout seeing Bubbxts). 

Thus fiercer glow 
Their fires. I know what hand arranged their meeting : 
'Twas but for this that Agrippina sought me, 
And all her long protracted lecture tended 
Only to further this vile scheme of hers. 

(Perceiving Bubbtjs.) 
Acquaint me if my mother still is here. 
I would retain her, Burrus, in the palace : 
And let my bodyguard relieve her own. 


Your mother, Sire ? Will you not hear her ? 


I know not, Burrus, what you may be plotting, 
But all my wishes have for some days past 
Found you a censor ready to oppose them. 
Answer for her, or else, if you refuse, 
Others shall answer both for her and Burrus. 



Scene 1. 


Ay, Madam, you may clear yourself at leisure, 
Csesar consents to give you audience here. 
If his command restricts you to the palace, 
His purpose, maybe, is to talk with you ; 
In any case, if I may speak my thought. 
Forget that he has given you offence ; 
Be ready rather to receive him back 
With open arms ; defend yourself, and blame not 
His conduct. See how all the Court observe him. 
And him alone. Tho' he may be your son, 
And owe you all, he is your emperor. 
Like us, you're subject to the pow'r you gave. 
Whether he threaten or caress you, Madam, 
The Court will either shun or press around you, 
'Tis his support they seek in seeking yours. 
But, look, the Emperor comes. 


Leave me with him* 

Scene 2. 

Nbko, Agrippina. 

AGRiPPiNA (seating herself). 

Come hither, Nero, take your place beside me : 
'Tis wish'd that I should clear your wrong suspicions. 
I know not with what crime I have been slander'd ; 
All I have done admits of explanation. . ^ ^ 


300 bacine's works. [act it. 

Tou sway Earth's sceptre now ; and yet you know 

How far your birth removed you from such greatness. 

My ancestors, whom Rome has deified, 

Bestow'd a slender title without me. 

When Messalina's doom open'd a field 

Of competition for the couch of Claudius, 

'Mid all the fair aspirants to his choice 

Who begg'd the intercession of his freedmen, 

I wish'd to win, with this sole thought, that I 

Might give the throne, where I should sit, to you. 

My pride I humbled to solicit Pallas ; 

His master, daily in my arms caress'd. 

By slow degrees drew from his niece's eyes 

The love to which I sought to lead his feelings. 

But that close tie of kindred blood between us 

Debarr'd incestuous union, nor did Claudius 

Dare to espouse the daughter of his brother. 

Th' obsequious senate by a law less strict 

Placed Claudius in my arms, Rome at my feet. 

Thus much I gain'd, but nothing yet for you. 

Into his family I introduced you 

Close on my steps, made you his son in law, 

Grave you his daughter, wh©m Silanus loved. 

And he, forsaken, with his life blood mark*d 

That fatal day. But nothing yet was done : 

Claudius woiild still prefer his son to you. 

I begg'd the aid of Pallas once again, 

And so prevail'd on Claudius to adopt you. 

He call'd you Nero, and, before the time. 

Desired that you should share the sovereign pow'r. 

To all men then, as they recall'd the past. 

My scheme, already too matured, lay bare. 

His father's friends, true to Britannicus, 

Murmur'd against his imminent disgrace. 

The eyes of some with promises I dazzled. 

Exile released me from the most seditious. 

Claudius himself, weary of my complaints 

Unceasing, took his son out of the care 

Of those whose zeal, long constant to his cause. 

Might yet prevail to set him on the throne. 

Farther, I chose among my following 


Those who I wish'd should have him in their charge : 

Such, on the other hand, I named to be 

Your governors, whom Borne held most respected ; 

Deaf to intrigues, I trusted fame's clear voice, 

Recaird from exile Seneca, and took 

From martial service Burrus, those same men 

Who since Rome then esteem'd them for their virtues. 

Meanwhile I drew on the imperial chest 

For lavish largess, in your name bestow'd ; 

Presents, and shows, invincible attractions. 

Gained you the people's hearts, and won the army. 

Which, re-awakening to its first affections, 

Favoured in you my sire G^rmanicus. 

Claudius grew feebler as the time pass'd on : 

His eyes, long seal'd, were open'd at the last : 

He knew his error, and in fear let fall 

Some words of sorrow for his son, too late 

He would have gathered all his friends around him : 

The guards, the palace, and the royal bed 

Were under my control : I let his fondness 

Be wasted in vain sighs, and kept close watch 

On his last hours : feigning to spare him pain, 

I hid his son's tears from the dying monarch. 

He died. A thousand shameful rumours spreading, 

I quickly stopp'd the tidings of his death : 

And, while in secret Burrus was despatch' d 

To make the army swear to you allegiance, 

And you were marching to the camp, as I 

Arranged, in Rome the smoke of sacrifice 

Rose from her altars ; and, deceived by me, 

The anxious people pray'd that he might live. 

When Claudius was no more. Your pow'r establish'd 

On the obedience sworn by all the legions, 

At length I show'd the corpse, and Rome, astonish' d 

At what had happen'd, learn'd that he was dead 

And Nero reign'd. This is the true confession 

I wish'd to make. Thus have I sinn'd, and this 

Is my reward. Now that you reap the fruit 

Of ail my pains, grateful for scarce six months, 

You feel the burden of respect too irksome. 

And do not care to recognize me more. 

302 BACINB*8 WOBK8. [aCT IT. 

Burrus and Seneca have taught you how 
To be ungrateful, sharpening your suspicions, 
And overjoy'd to find a pupU fitter 
To be their teacher. Oay gallants I see, 
Like young Senecio and Otho, share 
Your confidence, and pander to your pleasures : 
And when, displeased at your disdainful treatment, 
I have inquired the reason of such insults. 
Unable to withstand my just complaints, 
You have replied with ever fresh affronts. 
Just now I promised Junia to your brother. 
And both felt flatter'd at your mother's choice. 
When, to your palace secretly convey'd. 
One night makes Junia mistress of your heart. 
From which I see Octavia has been banish'd ; 
And soon, I ween, the nuptial bond I tied 
Will be dissolved ; Britannicus arrested, 
Pallas an exile, I await the fetters 
In store for me ; for Burrus dares to act 
The gaoler. When you find your guile unmask'd. 
Instead of seeking me to beg forgiveness. 
You order me to justify myself. 


I ne'er forget that 'tis to you I owe 

The throne, nor need you trouble to repeat it ; 

Your kindness. Madam, may at peace repose 

On Nero's gratitude. Besides these murmurs. 

That breathe dissatisfaction and suspicion. 

Have made all those who hear your plaints believe 

That hitherto (this in your private ear), 

You have in my name toil'd but for yourself. 

** Such honours," say they, " such respectful homage. 

Are these return too mean for her acceptance ? 

What is the crime for which she blames her son ? 

Was't only to obey her that she crown'd him ? 

Holds he the sceptre as her deputy ? " 

And yet, if I could thus have satisfied you, 

I would have gladly yielded you that pow'r 

Which you so loudly claim to reassume ; 


But Borne will have a master, not a mistress. 
You know the uproar that my weakness raised, 
The ferment of the senate and the people, 
Hearing your will dictated thro' my lips ; 
How they declared that Claudius had bequeathed 
To me his tame submission with his throne. 
A hundred times youVe seen the indignation 
With which our troops have before you pa,raded 
Their eagles, shamed so to disgrace the heroes 
Whose effigies are stamp'd upon them still. 
No other woman would have braved their scorn ; 
But you, unless you reign, ne'er cease complaining. 
Leagued with Britannicus, the match you purposed 
'Tween him and Jimia was design' d to strengthen 
Him against me, and Pallas hatch'd the plot. 
When, to my sore regret, I take such measures 
As may secure my peace, your rage and hatred 
Burst forth ; you'll show my rival to the army, 
Already has the rumour reach'd the camp. 


I ! make him emperor ! Will you believe it ? 
What motive could I have, what end be gain'd ? 
What honours might I look for in his Court ? 
If malice spares me not while you are sovereign, 
If my accusers closely dog my steps. 
And venture to attack the Emp'ror's mother, 
How should I fare amid a Court of strangers ? 
They would reproach me not with feeble murmurs, 
With schemes condemn'd to failure at their birth. 
But crimes wrought in your presence, for your sake. 
And, all too soon, convict me of my guilt. 
You cannot bafOle me with your evasions, 
You are ungrateful, and have always been so : 
E'en from your earliest years my tender care 
Has but extorted from you feign' d affection. 
Nought has avail'd to win you, and your hardness 
Ought to have stopp'd the channels of my heart. 
What misery is mine ! Must all my fondness 
Be found a burden by my only son !. 

304 sacinb's wobks. [act iv. 

Ye gods, who hear my sorrowing words this day. 

Have not my vows and pray'rs been all for him ? 

Fears, perils, and remorse have check'd me not, 

No scorn subdued me ; and I tum'd mine eyes 

From all calamities that were predicted. 

Tve done my best ; you reign, and I'm content. 

Now, if you wish it, with the liberty 

Of which I have been robb'd, take life as well. 

Provided that the people, in their rage, 

Deprive you not of what has cost me dear. 


Speak, then. What is it you would have me do ? 


Pimish the insolence of mine accusers ; 
Calm the resentment of Britannicus ; 
Let Junia have the partner of her choice ; 
Let both be free, and Pallas stay at Eome ; 
And suffer me to see you when I will ; 

(Perceiving Burrus at the hack of the stage.) 
Lastly, let Burrus, who is come to hear us. 
No longer dare detain me at your door. 


Yes, Madam, I desire my gratitude 

May henceforth stamp your pow'r on ev'ry heart ; 

And I already bless that happy frost 

Which makes the fire of our affection brighter. 

What Pallas may have done shall be forgotten. 

My quarrel with Britannicus is over ; 

And as to what has most divided us, 

My passion shall be subject to your judgment. 

Go then, and tell my brother what will please him. 

Guards, let my mother's orders be obey'd. 


Scene 3. 
Nero, Burbus. 


With what delight did I behold, my lord, 
Embraces that must bring back peace between you ! 
You know if e'er my voice was raised against her. 
Or laboured to estrange you from her love, 
Or if I merit her unjust resentment. 


I tell you plainly, Burrus, that I thought 
One common understanding made you both 
Traitors. But now her enmity restores you 
My confidence. She grasps too hastily 
At triumph. If my rival I embrace, 
It is to crush him. 


Sire ? 


Enough : his ruin 
Must set me free from Agrippina's fury ; 
For while he breathes I have but half a life. 
Mine ears are weary of his hateful name. 
Nor will I suffer her audacity 
To promise him my throne a second time. 


Must she soon weep then for Britannicus ? 


Ere sunset I shall fear the boy no more. 


What motive is it that inspires this purpose ? 

306 sacine's wobks. [act tv. 


Honour and love, my safety, and my life. 


Nay, tell me what you will, this foul design 
Was never. Sire, conceived in your own breast. 




To learn it from your lips confounds me ! 
Heav'ns ! Did not you yourself shudder to hear it ? 
Think you what blood you are about to spill ? 
Is Nero tired of reigning in all hearts ? 
What will men say of you ? Consider that, 


Why, bound for ever to a blameless past. 
Must I observe the shifting breeze of favour, 
The gift of chance, nor certain for a day ? 
Slave to their will, that thwarts my own desires. 
Am I their monarch but to do their pleasure ? 


And is it then no satisfaction, Sire, 

That to your hand Eome owes her happiness ? 

You still are master, 'tis for you to choose. 

You have been good, and you may yet remain so : 

The way is well mark'd out, no obstacle 

Forbids your steps to tread fresh heights of virtue. 

But should you heed the voice of flattery. 

Then will you have to rush from crime to crime, 

Support your harshness by new cruelties, 

And wade thro' ever-rising streams of blood. 

The prince's death will rouse the fiery zeal 

Of all his friends, impatient to take up 

His quarrel, that shall fresh supporters find 

To follow them when his avengers perish ; 

The flame you kindle shall be ne'er extinguish'd. 

Tho' fear'd by all the world, you must yourself 


Fear all, and, trembling as you strike unceasing, 
Count ev'ry subject as an enemy. 

Ah ! does tb* experience of your earliest years 
Cause you to hate your youthful innocence ? 
Think you what happiness has mark'd their course ? 
Oood gods ! How tranquilly they glided by ! 
What joy to think, and say within yourself : 
" All at this moment bless me evVywhere, 
And love me ; no one shudders at my name ; 
No tearful eyes are tum'd to Heav'n for me. 
No looks of sullen hatred shun my presence. 
But all hearts fly to meet me as I pass ! " 
Such thoughts once pleased you. O ye gods, what change ! 
The vilest blood was precious in your sight : 
One day I well remember, when the Senate 
Press' d you to sign a criminal's death doom, 
Tou long opposed their just severity ; 
It seem'd too cruel to your tender heart, 
And, troubled at the burden of a Crown, 
You said : — " I would I knew not how to write." 
No, be persuaded, or my death shall spare me 
The sight and sorrow of a blow like this : 
I cannot live. Sire, to survive your glory: 
If you are bent upon so black a deed, 

(throwing himself at Nero's feet) 
Lo ! I am ready ; strike, ere you begin, 
This heart that cannot to such crimes consent : 
Send for those cruel men who so mislead you, 
And let them try their faltering hand on me — 

But I can see my tears have touch'd my master. 
Your virtuous soul shrinks from their bloody counsels. 
Oh \ lose no time, tell me the traitors' names 
Who dare to prompt you to such villanies ; 
Summon your brother ; in his arms forget — 


You know not what you ask. 


He hates you not ; 
He is traduced, I know him innocent ; 

308 Racine's works. [act it. 

I'll answer for his loyalty, my liege. 

I with all speed will hasten this glad meeting. 


Bring him to my apartments. There await me. 

Scene 4. 
Nero, Narcissits. 


All is provided for so just a death ; 
I have the poison ready. Famed Loeusta 
Has exercised for me her utmost skill : 
She kill'd a slave before my very eyes ; 
A dagger cannot make so quick an end 
As this new poison she has giv'n to me. 


Enough, Narcissus : for these pains I thank you. 
But do not wish you to extend them further. 


What ! Is your hatred for Britannicus 
So slack that you forbid — 


Yes, we are friends. 


Far be it from me to dissuade you. Sire. 
But he so lately found himself in prison. 
That this offence will rankle in his heart. 
No secrets are there time does not reveal ; 
He'll know my hand was to have offer'd him 
Poison prepared for him by your command. 
May Heav'n divert his mind from such a purpose. 
But he, perchance, will do the deed you dare not. 



They answer for his heart ; I'll conquer mine. 


And Junia*s marriage, does that seal the bond ? 
Are you to make this sacrifice for him ? 


You tate too much concern. Be 't as it may, 
He is no longer enemy of mine. 


Your mother reckoned upon this, my lord ; 
And she once more submits your will to hers. 


What mean you, sirrah ? Tell me what she says. 


She boasts of it, aiyi publicly enough. 


Of what ? 


That she had but to see you. Sire, 
One moment, and to all this vehemence 
And anger modest silence would succeed ; 
That you would be the first to give assent 
To peace, rejoiced that she should deign to pardon 
What's past. 


Narcissus, tell me how to act. 
G-lad would I be to punish her presumption ; 
And, if I had my wish, this foolish triumph 
Should soon be followed by regret eternal. 
But what will all the world say then of me ? 
Would' st have me follow in the steps of tyrants ? 
Shall Rome, all honourable titles cancell'd, 34^ 

310 bacinb's works. [act iv. 

Leave me no other name than poisoner ? 
Such vengeance they would count a parricide. 


Did you expect they 'Id always hold their tongues ? 
Is it for you to heeid their idle words ? 
Shall your own wishes fade from your remembrance ? 
And will you dare to thwart none but yourself ? 
But you, my lord, know not what Romans are ; 
They keep a better bridle on their tongue. 
This caution is but weakness in a monarch: 
They'll think that they deserve it, if you fear them. 
They have been long accustom'd to the yoke, 
And lick the hand &at rivets fast their fetters. 
You'll find them ever eager to content you : 
Tiberius wearied of such cringing subjects. 
Myself, invested with a borrowed pow'r, 
"WTiich, with my freedom, I received from Claudius, 
A hundred times, during my day of glory, 
Tried hard their patience, but it never fail'd. 
Fear you the odium of a cup of poison ? 
Destroy the brother, and desert the sister ; 
•Rome on her altars will not spare the victims. 
Nor fail to find them guilty, were they pure 
From all offence ; their birthdays you will see 
Eank'd among luckless anniversaries. 


I tell you once again, I cannot do it. 
I've promised Burrus, being forced to yield : 
Nor do I wish to break my word, and give 
His virtue arms that he may use against me. 
My courage fell before his arguments, 
Nor could I listen calmly as he spoke. 


Believe me, Burrus thinks not as he speaks. 

His virtue shrewdly backs his interest. 

Or rather they all work with one intent : 

This stroke, they see, would shatter all their pow'r ; 


You would be free, my lord, and at your feet 

Your masters then would bow their heads like us. 

"What ! Know you not all that they dare to say ? 

" Nero, forsooth, was never bom to rule. 

His words and deeds are such as we prescribe ; 

Burrus directs his heart, and Seneca 

His mind. The sole ambition that he knows 

Is to be skilful in the chariot race. 

To gain the prize in meanest competitions. 

To show himself in public to the Romans, 

To let his voice be heard upon the stage. 

And win their admiration with his songs, 

While ever and anon his soldiers force 

The loud applause that greets each fresh performance." 

Ah ! will you not compel them to be silent ? 


Narcissus, let's go see what we should do. 


Scene 1. 

Bbitankicxts, Jtinia. 


Yes, Junia ; Nero waits me in his hall, 
However strange it seems, to make me welcome. 
There all the youth at Court have been invited. 
And there 'mid festal pomp and mirth he wills 
Our mutual oaths should in their sight be seal'd, 
And love revived with brotherly embraces. 
His passion f pr yourself, source of our hatred, 
He quenches, and makes you over his fate 
Sole arbitress. Tho' banish'd from the rank 
My fathers held, tho' in their spoils he decks him 
Before my eyes, yet, ceasing to oppose 
Our love, he yields me the delight of pleasing 


You, and my heart in secret pardons him, 
And gives up all the rest with small regret. 
No longer shall I live apart from you ! 
This moment I can see without alarm 
Those eyes which neither grief nor terror moved. 
Which have for me refused th' imperial throne ! 
But what new fear, dear lady, thus constrains 
Your hearts' participation in my joy ? 
How is it, while you hear me, your sad eyes 
Cast lingering looks towards the sky above us ? 
What is it that you dread ? 


I scarcely know : 
But I*m afraid. 


You love me ? 


Can you ask it ? 


Nero no longer mars our happiness. 


But can you guarantee me his good faith ? 


What ! you suspect him of a secret hatred ? 


Just now did Nero love me, swore to slay you ; 
Me he avoids, seeks you ; can change so great 
Be but a moment's work ? 


A master-stroke 
Of Agrippina's in this work I see : 
She thought my death would bring her ruin with it, 


Thanks to the foresight of her jealous spirit, 

Our bitterest enemies have fought for us. 

My trust is in the passions she displayed, 

In Burrus, in the Emperor himself ; 

I trust, like me, incapable of treason. 

He hates with open heart, or hates no longer. 


Nay, judge not, Sir, his feelings by your own ; 

The course you follow is not that of Nero ; 

His Court and him I*ve known but for a day, 

But here, alas, if I dare own the truth. 

How diff'rent is their speech from what they think 

How little do the heart and tongue agree ! 

How lightly here are promises belied ! 

How strange are all their ways to you and me ! 


But, be their friendship true or false, if you 
Fear Nero, is he without fear himself ? 
No, no ; he will not by so base a crime 
Dare to arouse the people and the senate 
Against himself. He own'd his latest wrong ; 
He show'd remorse even before Narcissus. 
Ah ! my dear princess, had he told you how — 


But are you sure Narcissus is no traitor ? 


Why woula you have me doubt him ? 


Nay, I know no 
But 'tis your life that is at stake, my prince, 
And I read treachery in every eye ; 
Nero I fear, and fear the dark misfortunes 
That dog my steps. Prescient, against my will. 
Of woe, with fond regret I see you leave me. 
Ah ! if this peace, wherewith you feed your hopes. 


Should hide some secret snare against your life ; 
If Nero, by our mutual love provoked, 
Has chosen night's deep shadows to conceal 
His vengeance, and makes ready, while I see you. 
To strike ; if I should ne'er behold you more ! 
My prince ! 


Dear Junia ! Do I see you weep ? 
Are my concerns of such account to you ? 
To-day, when Nero, swelling in his pride, 
Thought to bewitch your eyes with royal splendour. 
Here, where all shun me and pay court to him. 
Can you prefer my woes to all his pomp V 
On this same day, and in his very palace, 
Eef use a throne, and weep, my love, for me ? 
But dry those precious tears ; soon my return 
Will dissipate alarms. Longer delay 
May wake suspicions. Fare you well. I go. 
My heart is f iJl of tender thoughts of you ; 
Amidst the mirth of young eyes that are blind 
To what I see, on you I'll fondly gaze. 
And hold sweet converse. 


Prince — 


They wait my coming. 
And I must go. 


At least stay till you're sent for. 


Scene 2. 
Bkitannicus, Agbippina, Junia. 


Why tany, Prince ? Go qmckly ; Nero sits 
Impatiently complaining of your absence. 
Tlie joy of all the guests, still incomplete, 
Waits to burst forth till you embrace each other. 
Let not so flattering a wish grow cool : 
Depart. And we will find Octavia, Madam. 


Go, my fair Junia ; with your mind at ease, 
Hasten, and greet her warmly ; she expects you. 
As soon as I can do so, I will join you. 
And give you thanks, Madam, for all your kindness. 

Scene 3. 
AasippiNA, Junia. 


Madam, if I mistake not, you have shed 
Some parting tears, with which your eyes are dim. 
Tell me what cloud has troubled your calm sky ? 
Doubt you the peace my pains have now secured ? 


After so many griefs this day has cost me, 

I cannot still my agitated heart. 

Scarce can I yet believe this miracle : 

And, should I fear your goodness may be thwarted. 

Forgive me, for I know the Court is fickle. 

And some alarm always consorts with love. 


316 BACINS*S WOBKd. [aGT T. 


I've said enough. The aspect of affairs 
Is alter* d, and my cares leave you no ground 
To doubt it. I will answer for this peace ; 
Nero has sworn to me with surest pledges. 
I would that you had witnessed the endearments 
With which he sealed anew his solemn promise ! 
With what affection he just now detained me. 
And kept his arms around me ere we parted ! 
His ready kindness, written on his features. 
At first to lighter matters condescended ; 
With filial frankness, all his pride forgetting. 
Into his mother's heart pour'd forth his feelings : 
But soon resuming a severer manner. 
As of an emperor who consults his mother, 
Without reserve he trusted me with secrets 
Whereon the fortune of mankind depends. 
!No, I must here confess it to his honour 
He harbours now no taint of dark resentment ; 
Our enemies alone warp'd his good nature. 
And gain'd his ear to bias him against us. 
But in its turn their influence is waning ; 
Home soon shall recognize my pow'r once more. 
And gladly hails the end of my disfavour. 
Meanwhile we must not tarry here till night. 
But with Octavia close this happy day 
I deem*d so fatal. 

But what strikes mine ears ? 
Uproar and tumult ! What can they be doing ? 


O gracious Heaven, save Britannicus ! 


Scene 4*, 


Whither away so fast ? Stop, Burrus, tell me— 


Madam, 'tis done, Britannicus is dying. 


Alas ! my prince ! 




Or rather, Madam, 
Already dead. 


Pardon this agony. 
I go to succour, or to follow him. 

Scene 5. 
Agrippina, Bfrrtjs. 


Burrus, what a crime ! 


I'll not survive it. 

1 needs must quit the Emperor and his Court. 


What ! Quail'd he not to shed his brother's blood ? 

318 bacine's works. [act v 


More secretly lie compass'd his design. 

Scarce did the Emperor see his brother come, 

When from his knees he raised him, and embraced him. 

And,, while all stood in silence, seized a cup : 

" To crown this day," said he, " with better welcome, 

I pour the first drops forth as my libation ; 

Ye gods, to whom I thus appeal, be present 

To favour now our reconciliation." 

By the same oaths the young prince binds himself. 

The cup, still in his hand, is by Narcissus 

Eefill'd : but, as he touched it with his lips, I 

No sword-thrust ever caused effect so potent ; | 

His eyes grew dim, their vital fire had vanished, 

Lifeless and cold upon his couch he fell. 

Think how this blow struck every trembling heart : 

Half of the guests with cries of fear rushed out : 

But those whose knowledge of the Court was longer 

Conformed their countenance to CsBsar's looks. 

Which show'd no sign of wonder, as he lay 

Still on his couch : — " This malady," said he, 

** Of which you fear the violence, has ofttimes 

Attacked his childhood, and is free from danger." 

Narcissus tried in vain to seem concerned. 

His treacherous joy betray'd itself too well. 

Let Nero, if he will, punish my boldness, 

I, passing thro' the crowd, left his vile Court ; 

And, overwhelmed with grief at this foul murder. 

Mourn for the prince, for CsBsar, and for Eome. 


He comes. Now you shall see if I inspired him. 


Scene 6. 

Nebo, Agrippina, Burbus, Nabcissits, 

NEBO (seeing Agbippina). 
Great gods ! 


Stop, Nero ; I must speak to you 
A word or two : Britannicus is dead, 
J know the hand that murder'd him. 


Who, Madam? 




I ? See how suspicion works upon you ! 
No evil happens but you hold me guilty ; 
And, if one chose to heed your reckless words, 
'Twas I who cut the life of Claudius short. 
You loved his son, his death may turn your brain ; 
But for the strokes of fate I cannot answer. 


No, no ; Britannicus has died of poison ; 
Narcissus did the deed, at your command. 


Madam ! — Who dares to tell you it was so ? 


Does this suspicion wrong you. Sire, so much ? 

Madam, Britannicus had secret projects 

Which, carried out, would with good cause have grieved 

His aim was higher than a match with Junia ; 
You would have suffered deeply for your kindness, ^ 

320 eacinb's works. [act v. 

Much he deceived you, meaning, soon or late, 
To take full vengeance for his cherished wrongs. 
If fate has help'd you in your own despite. 
Or Csesar, with his knowledge of the plots 
Against your life, trusted my faithful service, 
Leave tears, my lady, to your enemies ; 
And let them number this calamity 
With those they deem their worst : but you — 


Go on: 
Such ministers will win a glorious name 
For Nero. You have gone too far already 
Now to draw back. First with your brotiier's blood 
Beginning, I foresee your hand will strike 
Your mother next ; for in your secret heart 
You hate me, and would free you from the yoke 
Of gratitude. But I will make my death 
Useless, nor think that, dying, I will leave you 
In peace ; this light of day to which I gave you, 
This <jity, always, everywhere, will show me 
Before your eyes ; Remorse, like furies, haunt you. 
By fresh atrocities you'll think to calm them. 
And madness, rising like a swollen stream. 
Shall brand your life with bloodshed dire and frequent. 
But Heav'n at last, I hope, loathing your crimes. 
Will add another victim to the heap. 
And, after wallowing in their blood and mine. 
That you will be compelled to shed your own ; 
And that posterity shall hold your name 
More odious than the cruellest of tyrants. 
This my heart tells me is your destiny. 
Farewell. Depart. 


Narcissus, follow me. 

SCENE 8.] BBITAJririOUS. ^1 

Scene 7. 
Ageippina, Bubsus. 


Heav'ns ! How unjust have my suspicions been. 
Condemning you, and hearkening to Narcissus ! 
Saw you, good Burrus, what a glance of fury 
Nero left with me as his valediction ? 
The die is cast, nothing will stop him now ; 
The blow foretold me is about to fall : 
And he will overwhelm you in your turn. 


Ah ! As for me Tve lived a day too long. 

Would Heav'n his cruelty had been so kind 

As to have tried its 'prentice hand on me ! . 

Then shotdd I have been spared the certain prospect 

Of Rome's impending ruin, which this crime 

Reveals. It is not that the deed alone 

Wakes my despair, since jealousy* might prompt 

The fratricide ; but, to be candid. Madam, 

'Twas Nero's coolness as he saw him die. 

The look of unconcern already fix'd 

That marks the tyrant long inured to crime. 

Let him complete his work, and put to death 

A troublesome adviser, who can bear him 

No longer. Far from wishing to escape 

The quickest doom shall be to me most welcome. 

Scene 8. 
Agbipfina, Bubbus, Albina. 


Ah, Madam I run and save the Smperor : 
Go, Burrus, go ; his madness masters him. 
Parted for ever from all hope of Junia- 

I. T 

822 sAcm's wobks. [act v. 

What ! Has the prmcess then ended her life ? 


To overwhelm him with eternal sorrow, 

Tho' yet alive, Junia is dead for him. 

You know how hurriedlv she left this spot. 

Feigning that she would visit sad Octavia. 

But soon she tum'd aside, and took her way 

Where I could follow her, as on she sped. 

She pass'd distracted thro' the palace gates ; 

But, when she saw the statue of Augustus, 

She with her tears bedewed his marble feet. 

Clinging around them closely with her arms : 

'* Prince, by these knees," said she, *' which I embrace. 

Protect me now, last of thy &mily ; 

Eome has just witneds'd, slaughtered in thy palace, 

The onl^ one of thy descendants left 

Who might have been like thee. They would have had me 

Prove false to him. To keep my faith unsullied, 

I here devote me to the immortal gods. 

Whose altars, through thy virtue, thou dost share." 

Meanwhile the people, wondering at the sight. 

From all directions fly, and throng around her. 

Pitying her sorrow, melted at her tears. 

And with one voice they promise to defend her. 

They lead her to the temple, where so long 

Our virgins, vow'd to serve at Vesta's shrine. 

Keep faithful watch over the precious fire 

That bums for ever there. Ceesar looks on. 

Nor dares to interfere as they depart. 

Embolden'd by the wish to please his master. 

Narcissus lays a sacrilegious hand 

On Junia, and, without alarming her. 

Tries to detain her. But a thousand blows 

Punish his rashness, and the damsel's robes 

Are sprinkled with his blood. In dumb surprise 

The Emperor leaves him in their hand, and goes 

Back to his palace, and his sullen silence 

Forbids approach ; only the name of Junia 


Escapes his lips. With vague uncertaiii steps 
He walks, with downcast and bewildered eyes ; 
And much I fear that, night and solitude 
Combining to embitter his despair. 
If you should longer fail to bring him succour, 
His grief may hurry him to self-destruction. 
Time presses : run ! Or, in a fit of passion. 
He'll take his life. 


'Tis justly forfeited! 
But Burrus, let us see how far his transports 
Are like to go, whether remorse will change him, 
And he henceforth will list to better counsel. 


I would to Heav'n this crime might be his last ! 

i-^i M^) 





If 6^ 




UNKNOWN to each other both Comeille and Racine 
had been requested by Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, 
the daughter of our Charles I., to write a tragedy on the 
parting of Titus and Berenice, and both poets fell in with 
the suggestion. It is said that she had a personal motive 
in doing so, inasmuch as tender passages had occurred 
between herself and Louis XTV.- Though a finer tragedy 
than Comeille's " Tite et B^r^nioe,*' Badness play is, taken 
as a whole, decidedly tedious ; and the criticism which was 
pronoimced upon it by a candid Mend, in the words of a 
well-known song, is hajrdly too severe : — 

** Marion pleare, Marion cri?, 
Marion veut qu'on la marie." 

which may be rendered — 

" Why does Mary cry so sadly ? 
Mary wants a husband badly.'' 

The first performance seems to have taken place in 1670, 
or early in the following year. 


TiTUAj tmperot of Borne. 
Bbrbvxgb, ^m ^ PaUstime, 
AviiiocmnByMng of ComwuLgene, 
TAVLnmB,/fimd of Titus. 
AmfiACMBf friend qfAnHoehus. 
^B<KnGE9 friend ofSerenke, 
RuTxi^ua, a Bomtm* 
Attendants of Titus. 

The scene is laid at Rome, in a chamber between the apartments of 
Titus and those of Berenice. 



Scene 1. 
Antiochus, Absaces. 


Let us stay here a moment ! All tliis pomp 
Is a new sight to jou, mj Arsaces. 
This chamber so superb, and so secluded* 
Is ofttimes privj to the Emperor's secrets : 
Either he sometimes from the Court retu^s, 
To pour his passion forth into the ears 
Of Berenice. Thro' this door he passes 
From his apartments ; that one leads to hers. 
Go, tell her I regret to trouble her. 
But must entreat a secret interview. 


To trouble her, my lord ! And you her friend. 

So true and generous in your care for her ! 

Her lover once, Antiochus, whom all 

The East holds great among her greatest monarchs ! 

What ! Tho* in hope she shares the throne with Titus, 

Is she so far removed in rank from you ? 


Go, nor concern yourself with other matters. 

See if I soon may speak with her in private. . 

330 bachtb's wobks. [act i. 

Scene 2. 


Antiochus, art thou the same as ever ? 

Canst say to her, " I love thee," without trembling ? 

I quake already, and my throbbing heart 

Dreads now as much as it deaixed this moment 

Has not £air Berenice slain my hopes. 

And did she not enjoin eternal silence ? 

Five years have they been dead ; and, till this day, 

My passion has assumed the mask of friendship. 

Can I expect the destined bride of Titus 

To hear me better than in Palestine ? 

He weds her. Have I then until this hour 

Delay'd to come and own me still her lover ? 

What fruit will follow from a rash confession ? 

Since part we must, let's part without displeasure. 

I will withdraw unseen, and from her sight 

Go, to forget her, or perchance to die. 

What ! suffer torments that she knows not of 

For ever, and for ever feed on tears ! 

Fear to offend her now when losing her ! 

And why, fair queen, should I incur thine anger ? 

Come I to ask you to resign the throne 

Of empire, and to love me ? Nay, I come 

Only to say that, flatter'd for so long 

By hope that obstacles might cross my rival. 

To-day I find he can do all, and Hymen 

Has lit his torch. Tain all my constancy ! 

After five years of love and wasted hopes, 

I leave thee, faithful still, tho' hope be dead. 

Can that displease her? Nay she needs must pity ; 

In any case I can hold out no longer. 

And wherefore should a hopeless lover fear. 

Who is resolved to see her nevermore ? 


Scene 3. 
Antiochtts, Absaces. 


Have we admittance ? 


I have seen the Queen ; 
But hard it was to struggle thro' the crowd 
That surged around of ever fresh adorers, 
Attracted by the news of coming greatness. 
Titus, eight days in strict seclusion spent, 
Ceases at length to mourn his father's loss, 
And gives himself once more to amorous cares ; 
And, may I trust the rumoiirs of the Court, 
Perhaps ere nightfall happy Berenice 
Shall change the name of Queen for that of Empress. 




Can this report disturb my lord? 


So then I cannot speak with her ajone ? 


Sire, you shall see her : I have told the Queen 
You wish to have a secret interview. 
And with a look she deign'd to grant assent, 
Willing to lend herself to your entreaty : 
Doubtless she waits a favourable moment 
T' escape from troublesome congratulations. 


'Tis well. But has my Arsaces n^lected 

None of the weighty matters he was charged with P 

382 BAcnsrx'fl wobks. [act 


You know, my lord, my prompt obedience. 
Ships haye been fitted out at Ostia, 
Besuly to quit the port at any moment, 
And stay but for your orders. But I know not 
Whom you are sending back to Commagene. 


When I have seen her, then departure follows. 


Who must depart ? 






When I leave 
This palace, I leave Bome ; and that for ever. 


Your words surprise me, and with justice. Sire. 
After Queen Berenice for so long 
Has forced you to forsake your throne and coimtry. 
Detaining you for three whole years at Bome ; 
And when this queen, her victory achieved. 
Expects your presence at her royal nuptials, 
When amorous Titus, giving her his hand. 
Surrounds her with a glory which reflects 
Its light on you — 


Let her enjoy her fortune ! 
We've talk'd enough. I^y, leave me, Arsaoes. 



I understand you. Sire. These dignities 

Have made the Queen ungrateful for your kindness ; 

Friendship betray'd brings hatred in its train. 


No, Arsaces, I never held her dearer. 


Has then the Emperor, dazzled with new splendour. 
Ventured to slight you ? Does his waning favour 
Warn you to take your flight from him and Bome ? 


Titus is constant as a friend can be ; 
I should do wrong to blame him. 


Why depart, then ? 
Some fancy makes you your own enemy. 
Heav'n places on the throne a prince who loves you. 
Who erst was witness of your valiant prowess. 
When in his steps you followed death and glory ; 
Who, aided by your valour, in the end 
Eeduced beneath his yoke the rebel Jews. 
With mingled pride and pain he well remembers 
The day that closed the long and doubtful siege. 
The enemy upon their triple rampart 
Watch'd at their ease our ineffectual efforts, 
And all in vain we plied the battering ram. 
You, you alone, bearing a ladder, brought 
Death and destruction, as you scaled their walls. 
That day had well nigh proved your last, and Titus 
Embraced you, lying wounded in my arms. 
While Rome's victorious legions wept your fall. 
And now the time is comfe for you to reap 
The fruit of all the blood they saw you shed. 
If, eager to behold your realm again, 
You weary of a life without a sceptre, 

834 bacinb's woeks. [acti. 

Can you not wait at least till, honour laden 
From Csesar's triumph, glad Euphrates greet you 
With such additions to your royal title 
As Borne bestows in token of her friendship ? 
Can nought prevail to change your purpose, Sire ? 
Tou answer nothing ! 


What wouldst have me say ? 
I wait to have a word with Berenice. 

And then, my lord ? 

How, Sire ? 


Hers will decide my fate. 



I wait to learn from her own lips 
The truth or falsehood of the voice of rumour 
That seats her on th' imperial throne with Titus. 
If she is pledged to wed him, I go hence. 


And why so fatal in your eyes, this marriage ? 


The rest I'll tell you after we are gone. 


In what perplexity your words involve me ! 


She comes. Farewell. Do all that I have said. 


Scene 4. 
Bebenice, Antiochus, Phcenice. 


At last from these oppressive gratulations 
I steal away, from friends made mine by fortune ; 
Escaping from their vain and tedious homage, 
To find a friend whose words come from his heart. 
I'll not deny it, that my just impatience 
Blamed you for some degree of negligence. 
** Why does Antiochus," said I, " whose care 
Por me has had for witness Borne and Asia, 
Constant and true, whatever cross'd my path. 
In close attend3,nce on "my varied fortunes ; 
Why, when to-day Heav'n seems to promise me 
An honour that I fain would share with him. 
Hides he himself, and leaves me to the mercy 
Of stranger crowds ? " 


*Tis true then, Madam, is it ? 
Am I to understand from what you say 
That your long wooing is to end in marriage ? 


I will confide to you my late alarms. 

The last few days not without tears I've spent ; 

The mourning Titus on his Court imposed 

Had held his love suspended e'en in secret ; 

No more for me that ardour he display'd 

When by my eyes entranced the livelong day 

He sat, and sigh'd, and could not speak for tears ; 

He bade me for a while a sad farewell. 

Think how I must have grieved, whose fervent passion 

Adores him for himself alone, as ofttimes 

To you I've own'd ; who, were his state as mean 

As 'tis exalted, would have chosen him 

But for his virtues. 

335 bacikb'8 wobks. [xai i 


Has he now resumed 
His amorous suit ? 


You vitness'd how last night 
The senate, seconding his pious cares, 
JQnroU'd his father as a deity. 
His filial duty, satisfied thereby, 
Has given place to love and care for me. 
E*en at this moment, tho' he told me not 
Of his intention, his command has gathered 
The senate, that the bounds of Palestine 
May beyond Syria and Arabia reach ; 
And if I may believe his friends' report 
And his own promise sworn a thousand timesi. 
He will crown Berenice Queen of all, 
Adding to other titles that of Empress. 
Hither he comes himself for my assurance. 


And I am come to bid farewell for ever. 


Farewell for ever ! What is this you say ? 
Prince, you look pale, and trouble dims your eye ! 


Yes, I must leave you. 

The reason- 


What ! may I not know 

ANTIOCHUS (aside). 

Without seeing her again 
*Twere better to have gone. 

SC£NE 4.] BBBENIGE. 337 


What fear you? speak : 
Why keep me in suspense ? What mystery 
Surrounds this parting ? 


'Tis to your command 
I bow, remember, as you hear me now 
For the last time. If from your present greatness 
Your memory recalls your birthplace. Madam, 
You cannot have forgotten that my heart 
There felt love's arrows first from your sweet eyes : 
Agrippa gave his sanction to my passion. 
And, as your brother, spoke on my behalf ; 
Nor seem'd you angry at the suit so ui^ed. 
Bat to my loss came Titus, saw, and won 
Your admiration dazzled by a hero 
Who carried in his hands the wrath of Eome. 
Judsea quaiPd before him, and I fell 
The earliest victim of his vanquish'd foes. 
Soon did your lips, making my fate more bitter. 
Bid mine be silent. Long did I dispute 
That cruel sentence, with my eyes I spoke. 
Followed you everywhere with sighs and tears. 
At last your rigour tum'd the trembling scale, 
I must conceal my passion, or be banish'd. 
You made me swear obedience to that compact : 
But I confess, e*en at that very moment. 
When you extorted promise so unfair, 
I swore that I would never cease to love you. 


Alas, what words are these ? 


Five years have I 
Queird mine own heart, and will be silent still. 
I foUow'd my victorious rival's arms, 
And hoped, since tears were vain, that I might shed 

I. z 

338 bacine's wqbks. [act i. 

My blood ; or that my name, by many a feat 

Renown'd, might reach your ears, deaf to my voice. 

Heav'n seem'd disposed to end my misery, 

You moum'd my death, but a worse fate was mine. 

And, disappointed, I survived the danger. 

The Emperor's valour more than match'd my rage ; 

His merit I must own with true esteem. 

Tho' near in prospect gleam'd th' imperial sceptre, 

The darling of the universe, and loved 

By you, he seem'd the mark for every blow ; 

Whilst hopeless, scorn' d, and weary of his life. 

His hapless rival followed where he led. 

I see your heart echoes my praise of him 

In secret, and, attentive to my tale 

Of woe, you hear me now with less regret. 

For Titus' sake forgiving all the rest. 

At last the long and cruel siege was o'er, 
He tamed the rebels left by feuds intestine, 
9y fire and famine, bleeding, sick, and pale, 
Aud laid their ramparts low 'neath heaps of ruins. 
Eome saw you with the conqueror arrive. 
How in my desert home I pined and languish'd ! 
Long stay'd I roaming about OaBsarea, 
Those charming gardens where I leam'd to love you. 
And made my quest for you thro' your dominions 
Sad at your absence, sought to trace your steps. 
And wept my failure ; till in mere despair, 
Master'd by grief, I tum'd tow'rds Italy ; 
Where Fate reserved for me her latest stroka 
Titus, embracing me, brought me to you ; 
A veil of friendship so deceived you both 
That you reveal'd your love to me who loved you. 
But still some lingering hope soothed my displeasure, 
Eome and Vespasian f rown'd upon your sighs, 
For all his conquests Titus might be foil'd. 
. The sire is dead, and now the son is master. 
Why fled I not at once ? Some days I wish'd 
Wherein to watch the progress of affairs. 
My cup is full of sorrow, yours of joy. 
You, without me, will have enough to witness 
Your happiness with glad congratulations. 


I, who could only add ill-omen'd tears, 

Too constant victim of a fruitless love, 

Relieved to tell this story of my woes, 

Stain'd by no wild revenge, to her who caused them. 

Depart, altho' I love you more than ever. 


I would not have believed that on this day 
Which is to join my destiny with Caesar's, 
I could have suffered mortal, unrebuked, 
To tell me to my face he is my lover. 
Bat friendship kept me silent ; for its sake 
I pardon language that might well offend me. 
Nor check'd the torrent of unjust upbraiding ; 
Yet more, I grieve to hear that we must part. 
Heav'n knows that in the midst of all my honours 
I yeam'd for one thing more, that you might witness 
My joy ; like all the world I held your virtues 
Esteem'd ; my Titus met your admiration 
With warm regard. And many a time I joy'd 
As if with Titus when I talk'd with you. 


'Tis this that wings my flight. I shun, too late, 
Converse wherein you give no thought to me. 
I fly from Titus, from a name that tortures 
Each moment that your cruel lips repeat it. 
Shall I say more ? I cannot bear those eyes 
VVhose absent gaze seems fix'd upon another. 
Farewell. Your image in my heart abides ; 
I go to wait for death, still loving you. 
But fear not that my passion so deluded 
Will make the world resound with my misfortunes : 
The tidings of a death that I desire 
Alone will tell you that I lived so long. 

340 bacine's works. [act i. 

Scene 5. 
Bebenice, Ph(enice. 


Ah, how I pity him ! Such faith 
Deserved a happier lot. Madam, do you 
Not pity him ? 


This sudden parting leaves me 
(I own it, my Phoenice) secret sorrow. 


I would have kept him back. 


I keep him back ! 
Nay, I should rather force me to forget him. 
Would' st have me, then, encourage a mad passion ? 


Not yet has Titus all his heart unbosomed. 
"With eyes of jealousy Rome sees you. Madam ; 
I dread for you the rigour of her laws, 
They count a foreign marriage a disgrace : 
All monarchs !Bome detests, and Berenice 
Is one. 


The time is gone when I could tremble. 
The Emperor loves me, and his word has pow'r 
Unlimited. He'll see the senate bring me 
Their homage, and the people crown his statues 
With garlands. 

Have you seen this night's rare splendour? 
Are not your eyes fiU'd with its daazling glory ? 
That funeral pyre, the darkness lost in light 
Of blazing torches, armies with their eagles. 

SO£NE 1.] BEBENICE. 341 

Long lines of lictors, consuls, senators, 
A crowd of Kings, and all with glory borrow'd 
From Titus ; gold and purple which enhanced 
His majesty, and bays that crown' d the victor ; 
All eyes of visitors from every land 
Turning their eager gaze on him alone ; 
That noble carriage, and that air benign, — 
Good gods ! with what affection and respect 
All hearts assured him of their loyalty 1 
Could any then behold him and not think, 
As I did, that, however lowly bom, 
The world would still have own'd him as its master ? 
But whither does my fond remembrance wander ? 
All Rome, Phoenice, at this very moment 
Offers her vows for Titus, and with smoke 
Of sacrifice inaugurates his reign. 
Why should we linger ? Let us add our pray'rs 
For his success to Heav'n that watches o'er him. 
Then straightway, without waiting to be summoned, 
I'll seek him, and in loving colloquy 
Say all that warm affection, long repress'd. 
Inspires in hearts contented with each other. 


Scene 1. 

Titus, Paulinus, Attekdants. 


Has Commagene's monarch been inform'd 
That I desire to see him ? 


To the Queen 
I went, and found the Prince had been with her. 
But he was gone or ever I arrived. 
I have left word to let him know your wishes. 

842 bacine's works. [act ir. 


'Tis well. And wliat does she. Queen Berenice ? 


The Queen this moment, grateful for your goodness. 
Loads Heav'n with pray'rs for your prosperity. 
She is gone forth, my lord. 


Too kind a Princess I 


Why breathe for her that sigh of sorrow ? 
When well nigh all the East will bow before her. 
Needs she your pity ? 


Let us talk in private. 

Scene 2. 
Titus, Paulinus. 


Eome, still uncertain of my purpose, waits 
To learn the future fortune of the Qiieen ; 
The secrets of her heart and mine, Paulinus, 
Are now become the theme of every tongue. 
'Tis time that I should make my meaning plain> 
What says the public voice of her and me ? 
Tell me, what hear you ? 


By all lips, my liege, 
I hear your virtues and her beauty praised. 



What say they of the sighs I breathe for her ? 
What end eicpect they of a love so faithful ? 


Nought balks your pow*r ; love on, or quench this passion, 
The Court will be subservient to your wishes. 


Ah yes, I know the Court is insincere, 
Too ready always to content its masters, 
Approving e'en a Nero's horrid crimes ; 
I've seen them on their knees adore his madness. 
I will not take for judge a servile Court, 
I'll play my part upon a nobler stage ; 
And, without giving ear to Flattery's voice, • 
I wish to hear the heart of Eome thro* you, 
As you have promised. Fear and reverence 
Close me the door to murmurs and complaint : 
For better eyes and ears, my dear Paulinus, 
To you I make appeal, and borrow yours : 
'Tis this return I ask for private friendship, 
That what my people feel you should express. 
That thro' the mists of flattery the truth 
Should reach me, thanks to your sincerity. 
Speak, then. For what must Berenice look ? 
Will !Bome to her show harshness or indulgence ? 
Am I to think that she would be offended 
Were Queen so fair to grace th' imperial throne ? 


Doubt not, my lord, be *t reason or caprice, 
Eome will be loath to have her for an Empress. 
They know her charms, and own that hand so fair 
May seem to you worthy to wield your sceptre ; 
No Boman dame, say they, has heart more noble ; 
She has a thousand virtues, but, my lord, 
She is a Queen. Bome, by a changeless law 
Admits no foreign blood with heto to mingle, 

344 bacine's works. [act ii. 

Nor will she recognize the lawless issue 

Of unions which our customs have forbidden. 

Rome, too, you know, when banishing her Kings, 

Condemn'd that name, so sacred hitherto, 

To the black stigma of eternal hatred ; 

And, tho' she stoops submissive to her Csesars, 

That hatred, the last relic of her pride, 

Survives in hearts whence freedom has departed. 

Julius, whose martial glory first subdued her, 

And drown*d the voice of law 'mid din of arms. 

Smitten with Cleopatra's beauty, fear'd 

To wed her, and in Egypt left her lonely 

To mourn his absence. Antony, whose love 

Made her his idol, in her lap forgot 

Country and fame, yet dared not call her wife : 

Eome track'd the traitor to his charmer's knees, 

Nor let her vengeful fury be disarm'd 

Till she had overwhelm'd the amorous pair. 

Since then, my lord, Caligula and Nero, 

Monsters whose very name I blush to mention, 

"Whose outward aspect only show'd them human. 

Who trampled under foot all other laws, 

Fear'd this one only, and refrain'd from lighting 

Before our eyes a hymeneal torch 

Hateful to Rome. You bade me speak with frankness. 

We've seen the brother of the freedman Pallas, 

Felix, whose back still bears the brand of Claudius, 

Become the husband of two foreign Queens, 

And, if I needs must tell unvamish'd truth. 

Both Queens were of the blood of Berenice. 

Think you that Rome without offence could see 

Partner of CsBsar's bed this Eastern princess. 

Whose countrymen beheld one of our slaves 

Leave chains and fetters for their Queens' caresses 

Thus public feeling views your present passion ; 

Nor am I sure that, ere this sun has set, 

The senate will not, in the name of Eome, 

Repeat to you what I have dared to say, 

And the whole city, falling at your feet. 

Add their entreaties for a choice more worthy 

Of you and them. Weigh well what you will answer. 



All ! What a love they wish me to renounce ! 


That love is ardent, I must e'en confess it. 


Stronger a thousand times than you can think. 

It has become to me a needful pleasure 

To see her every day, and win her favour. 

Yet more, (no secrets have I with Paidinus,) 

How oft has Heav*n received my warmest thanks 

For her, that she embraced my father's side 

In Edom, and beneath his banners ranged 

The armies of the East, and, all mankind 

Rousing, entrusted to his peaceful sway 

Rome, drunk with blood ! I wish'd my father's throne. 

E'en I, Paulinus, who to save his life 

Would willingly have died, had Fate consented 

To lengthen out the thread of his existence : 

And all in hopes, (how ill a lover knows 

What he desires !) to share that throne with her. 

Her love and loyalty to recognize. 

And lay my heart with all the world before her. 

In spite of all my love and all her beauty. 

After so many oaths, so many tears. 

Now when I have the pow'r to crown such charms, 

Now when my heart adores her more than ever. 

And can, united to her own in marriage. 

Pay in one day the vows of five long years, 

I am about — Ye gods, how shall I say it ? 


What, Sire ? 


To part from her for evermore. 
This moment only seals my heart's surrender : 
If I desired to hear your frank avowal, 
'Twas only that your zeal might aid in secret 

346 eacinb's wokks. [act ii. 

Th' extinction of a love with anguish silenced. 

Long has fair Berenice held the balance 

Suspended, and if glory outweighs passion, 

Believe me it has been a desp'rate conflict, 

From which my heart will bleed for many a day. 

Calm was life's ocean when love's bark I launched. 

The sceptre of the world by other hands 

Was sway'd. Consulting no one but myself, 

Free felt I to indulge each amorous sigh ; 

But scarce had Heav'n recalled my father's spirit, 

And I, with sad farewell, had closed his eyes, 

When I awoke from that fools* paradise. 

I' felt the burden that was laid upon me, 

I knew that soon, instead of soft indulgence, 

I should be call'd on to renounce myself, 

And that Heav'n's choice, thwarting the course of love. 

Would make the world henceforth engross my care. 

To-day Home watches my new line of conduct ; 

What shame for me, for her what evil omen, 

If at my first step all her claims I spum'd. 

And based my happiness upon the ruin 

Of ancient laws ! Bent on this sacrifice, 

1 wish'd to break the blow to Berenice : 

JBut where can I begin ? These last eight days. 

How oft have I been minded to disclose 

My purpose ! And each time my tongue refused 

To speak a single word, as if 'twere frozen 

Within my mouth. I hoped the pain I felt 

Might give her warning of our common woe : 

But touch'd by my alarm, all unsuspecting, 

She sought to dry the tears whose source she knew not, 

And nought foreboded less than that a love. 

So well deserved, was drawing to an end. 

At length this morning I have steel'd my heart 

To tell the truth : Paulinus, I must see her. 

I wait to ask Antiochus to take 

This precious chaise, no longer mine to guard. 

Back to the Eastern clime from which she came. 

To-morrow Rome shall see the Queen depart 

With him. Soon she shall learn her fate from me. 

When for the last time we converse together. 

SC£N£ 2.] BEBEKICE. S47 


I thought no less from that heroic soul 
Which Victory has foUow'd everywhere. 
Captive Judsea, and her smoking ramparts, 
Eternal monuments of noble courage, 
Assured me well enough you would not mar 
The fame that you have won by feats of arms. 
And that the victor of so many nations 
Sooner or later would subdue his passions. 


Under what specious names does Glory mask 

Her cruel will ! How would her charms seem fairer, 

"Were it but death she call'd on me to face ! 

Till now, 'twas Berenice who inspired 

The ardour that I felt for her attractions. 

You know that once Renown no lustre shed 

Around my name ; brought up at Nero's Court, 

My youth, by ill example led astray. 

Too prone to heed the voice of self-indulgence, 

Scorn'd nobler aims, Paulinus. Berenice 

Enthrall'd my heart. What cannot Love achieve . 

To please the loved one, and to win tho' vanquished ? 

I spent my blood ; all to my sword gave way ; 

Triumphant I returned. But tears and blood 

Sufficed not to deserve my lady's favour : 

A thousand wretches bless'd the aid I brought them. 

On every side they saw my bounty spread, 

And I was happy, more than you can guess, 

When in her eyes I read warm approbation 

Of countless hearts won by my benefits. 

I owe her all. And what reward is hers ? 

That debt about to be flung back upon her ! 

As recompense for virtues so unrivall'd 

My tongue will say : " Depart, see me no more." 


What, Sire, is all that new-bom grandeur nothing. 
Which to Euphrates will extend her pow'r ? 

348 BACINE's WOEK8. [act II. 

Honours so great as to surprise tlie senate, 
A hundred tribes added to her dominion. 
Are novel tokens of ingratitude. 


Weak trifles to engage so great a sorrow ! 

I know too well how Berenice's heart 

Craves nothing but mine own. I loved her fondly. 

And was beloved as well. Since that glad daj, 

(Should I not rather call it most disastrous), 

Loving me only for myself, in Eome 

A stranger, unfamiliar with my Court, 

She lives without a wish but for the hour 

When she may see my face, meanwhile content 

To wait. And if at times my footstep lingers. 

And I appear not at th' expected moment, 

I find her when I come aU bathed in tears, 

Which long refuse my efforts to dispel them. 

All the most binding ties of love, reproaches 

That sweetly merge in transports of delight 

Dash*d with fresh fears, charms unconstrain'd by art. 

Beauty and virtue, all I find in her. 

For five whole years have I beheld her daily. 

And every day her face wears new attractions. 

No more 1*11 think of it. Let's go, Paulinus, 

My resolution wavers while we linger. 

Great Heav'ns, that I should greet her with such tidings ! 

Once more, let's go, I must not hesitate. 

I know my duty, 'tis for me to follow : 

Without concern whether I live or die. 

Scene 3. 
Titus, Paulinus, Eutilus. 


The Queen, your Majesty, would speak with you. 


Alas, Paulinus ! 



Drawing back already ! 
Remember, Sire, your noble resolution ; 
Now is the time. 


Well see her. Let her come. 

Titus, Bebenice, Paulinus, Phoinicb. 


Be not offended, if my zeal outruns 

Discretion, and disturbs your privacy. 

While your Court, gathering around, repeat 

The favours showVd so freely on my h^d, 

Sir, is it right that I at such a moment 

Should stay alone, and gratitude be silent ? 

I know your friend sincere, nor need I shun 

His presence, well acquainted as he is 

With our hearts' secret ; you have done with mourning, 

Nought hinders you, and yet you seek me not. 

I hear^you ofEer me another sceptre. 

But from yourself I hear no word of it. 

Let us have more repose jind less display ; 

Is your love dumb except before the senate ? 

Ah, Titus (for my heart disowns those titles 

Of majesty which fear and reverence prompt). 

Why should your love be burdened with such cares V 

^re crowns the only prize that it can offer ? 

How long have you supposed I covet grandeur ? 

A sigh, a look, a word that falls from you. 

Are all th' ambition of a heart like mine. 

See me more often, and come empty handed. 

Is all your time devoted to your empire ? 

Eight days have pass'd, and have you nought to tell me ? 

One word would reassure this timid heart ! 

But was your speech of me, when I surprised you? . 

1^50 BACINE's WOBKS. [act II 

Were my concerns the subject of discouBse ? 
Was I at least, Sir, present to your thought ? 


Of that you may be sure : for Heav'n is witness 
That Berenice is before me always. 
Nor time, nor absence, once again I swear it. 
Can banish you from my adoiang soul. 


Why, what is this ? You swear eternal ardour. 
But, even while you swear, are cold as ice ! 
Why make appeal to Heav'n's omnipotence ? 
What need have I of oaths to strengthen trust ? 
I have no wish to think you false, my lord, 
And will believe the witness of a sigh. 


Madam — 


I listen. But, without reply. 
You turn away your eyes and seem perplex'd ! 
Why is your countenance so full of woe ? 
Will you for ever mourn your father's death ? 
Can nothing charm away this gnawing sorrow ? 


Ah ! would to Heav'n my father yet were living, 
How happy should I be ! 


Sir, this regret 
Does honour to your filial piety. 
But to his memory your tears have paid 
Due tribute. Other cares you owe to Rome ; 
I dare not say how much your glory moves 
My own concern. Once I could soothe your troubles. 
And Berenice's voice you heard with pleasure ; 
For your sake vex'd with manifold misfortunes. 


A word from you has made me clieck my tears. 
You mourn a fatjier : 'tis a common sorrow. 
While I (the bare remembrance makes me shudder,) 
So nearly torn from him whom more than life 
1 loved, the anguish of whose heart you know 
When parted from my Titus for a moment, 
I, who would die if banish'd from your sight. 
Never to see you more — 


Alas ! What say you ? 
Why choose this time ? Pray cease, for pity's sake : 
Tour kindness crushes an ungrateful wretch. 


Ungrateful ! can it be that you are that ? 
Are you so weary of my tenderness ? 


No, never ; since I must the truth confess. 

My heart bums now with fiercer flames than ever. 










Eome and the 


ill, Sir? 





Paulinus; I 

am dumb. 

352 bacine's wobes. [act n. 

Scene 5. 
Bebenicb, Ph(enice. 


So soon to leave me ! and without a word ! 

A doleful meeting truly, dear Phcenice ! 

What have I done ? What means he by this silence ? 


Like you I'm puzzled to account for it. 

Does nothing to your memory occur 

Which may have raised a prejudice against you ? 

Consider well. 


Alas ! you may believe me, 
The more I wish to bring to mind the past. 
From the first day I saw him till £his hour. 
The only fault I find is too much fondness. 
You heard us. Tell me frankly, my Phcenice, 
Did I say anything that could displease him ? 
I know not if, perchance, with too much heat 
I scom*d his gifts, or blamed the grief that vex*d him — 
Is it his people's hatred that he dreads ? 
He fears, it may be, to espouse a Queen. 
Alas, if that were true. — It cannot be, 
A hundred times at least he has assured me 
He slights their cruel laws. Why does he not 
Explain so harsh a silence ? This suspense 
Will kill me. How could I endure to live 
Neglected, feeling I had him offended? 
Let us go after him. But thro' my brain 
Flashes a thought that may the S9urce reveal 
Of this disorder. Has he leam'd where loves 
Antiochus ? Can that have moved his anger ? 
I heard the "King was summon'd to his presence. 
Why further seek for cause of my distress ? 
Doubtless this trouble that has so alarm'd me 


Is but a light suspicion, which with ease 
May be disarmed. This feeble victory 
Brings me no pride, my Titus. Would to Heav'n 
A rival worthier of your jealous fears 
Might try my faith, and ofEer empire wider 
Than Eome can boast, to pay me for my love ; 
While you had nought to give me but yourself I 
Then would you see, victorious and beloved, 
How much I prize your heart, my dearest Titus. 
Come, let us go. One word will clear his doubts. 
Let me take courage, I can please him still. 
Too soon have I counted myself unhappy ; 
Titus must love me if his heart is jealous. 


Scene 1. 

Titus, Antiochus, Absaces. 


So you would leave us. Prince ! What sudden reason 
Speeds your departure, shall I say your flight ? 
Would you have gone in secret, without taking 
Our farewell wishes ? Is it as a fbe 
You quit us ? What will Eome then say to this ? 
I, as your friend, my Court, and all the empire ? 
Wherein have I offended ? Did I treat you 
Without distinction just like other kings ? 
While yet my father lived my heart was yours, 
That was the only present I could make you ; 
Now, when my hand can open with my heart. 
You shun the favours I would fain bestow. 
Think you, the hazards of the past forgotten. 
My present grandeur every thought engrosses, 
And all my friends, fast fading in the distance. 
Wanted no longer, are accounted strangers ? 

I. A A 

354 eacine's wobes. [act hi. 

Of you, dear Prince, who thus would steal away, 
My need is greater than it ever was. 


Of me? 


Of you. 


Alas ! what can you look for 
From one so luckless, Sire, but useless wishes ? 


Can I forget, Prince, that my victory 

Owed half its glory to your valiant deeds. 

That in the train of captives Rome beheld 

More than one vanquished by Antiochus ? 

And laid up in the Capitol she saw 

Spoils that your hands had taken from the Jews ? 

These brave achievements are enough for me, 

Wo further claim I make but on your counsel. 

I know that Berenice, to your care 

A debtor, has in you a faithful friend ; 

Her eyes and ears are giv*n to you alone 

In Rome, you share with us one heart and soul. 

For- friendship's sake, so constant and devoted, 

Exert the influence that you have with her ; 

See her for me. 


I ? Nay, I cannot face her. 
She has received my last farewell for ever. 


Prince, speak to her again on my behalf. 


Plead your own cause, my lord. The Queen adores you ; 
Why should you at this hour deny yourself 
The pleasure of so charming an avowal ? 


She waits you with impatience. I will answer 
For her obedience with my parting breath ; 
Ready to yield consent, herself has told me 
That when you see her next, 'twill be to woo her. 


Ah ; would that I could thus confess my passion ! 

To do so would be happiness indeed ! 

My love was ready to burst forth to-day, 

This very day when I, dear Prince, must leave her. 


Leave her, my lord ? 


Such my sad destmy : 
For her and Titus is no longer hope 
Of wedlock, vainly that sweet thought has lured me : 
To-morrow, Prince, she must depart with you. 


Heav'ns ! What is this ? 


Pity the pow'r that galls -me : 
Lord of the universe, I rule its fortunes ; 
I set up Kings, and cast them down at will ; 
Yet can I not of mine own heart dispose. 
Eome, the eternal foe of royal titles, 
Disdains a beauty born to wear the purple : 
The glitter of a crown and long descent 
From kingly sires are in her eyes a scandal 
To smirch my flame. This heart of mine is free 
To rove elsewhere, and choose the meanest bride 
Of Eoman blood, nor need I dread a murmur 
To mar the shouts of welcome and delight. 
The mighty Julius could not stem that tide 
Which sweeps me on. If Eome to-morrow sees not 
The Queen's departure, she will hear the people 

356 eacine's works. [act hi. 

Demand of me her instant banishment. 

Let us then spare ourselves that base affront, 

And yield, since yield we must, without disgrace. 

My eight days* silence and averted eyes 

Will have prepared her for this sad announcement ; 

E'en at this moment, restless and excited, 

She longs to learn my purpose from myself. 

Soothe the keen angmsh of a tortured lover, 

And spare me the sore task of explanation. 

Gro, make her understand my troubled silence, 

And why it is I must avoid her presence ; 

Be you sole witness of her tears and mine. 

Take her my last farewell, and bring me hers. 

I shrink from parting words and looks of sadness. 

Which might overthrow my tottering resolution. 

If it can ease her misery to know 

That in my soul her image lives and reigns, 

Assure her, Prince, that, faithful to the end. 

My broken heart, banish'd from happiness 

No less than she, and bearing to the tomb 

Her name beloved, will, like a captive bird, 

Fine for release, as long as Heav'n that tears 

Her from me, may protract my weary life. 

You, Prince, whom friendship's ties alone have bound 

To her, forsake her not in her affliction ; 

By you escorted to her Eastern realms. 

Let her appear in triumph, not in flight. 

And to confirm a friendship so devoted. 

And keep my name fresh in your memories, 

Let your dominions reach each other's borders ; 

Euphrates only shall divide your kingdoms. 

I Imow the senate holds your name so honour'd, 

They with one voice will ratify this gift, 

I join Cilicia to your Commagene. 

Farewell. Desert her not, my Berenice, 

Queen of my heart, sole object of desire, 

Whom only I can love till I expire. 


Scene 2. 
Antiochus, Absaces. 


Thus is kind Heav'n prepared to do you justice : 
You will leave Rome, Sire, but with Berenice. 
You force her not away, they to your hands 
Consign her. 


Give me time, good Arsaces. 
The change is great, and my surprise extreme ; 
Titus to me resigns his dearest treasure ! 
Grods ! can I credit what mine ears have heard ? 
And should my heart be glad, could I believe it? 


And what am I, my lord, to think of you ? 
With what fresh hindrance is your joy confronted ? 
Did you deceive me when just now, at parting. 
Still moved with anguish at a last farewell. 
You told me all your heart had dared to tell her, 
And trembled at your own audacity ? 
'Twas her impending marriage urged your flight. 
That fear removed, what care can trouble you ? 
Follow where love invites your willing footsteps. 


With her safe conduct I am charged, my friend. 

And sweetest intercourse shall long enjoy ; 

Her eyes will grow accustom'd to the sight 

Of mine, and learn, perchance, how much my ardour. 

So persevering, makes the suit of Titus 

Seem weak and cold. Here all his grandeur daunts me ; 

In Rome nought else is seen beside his splendour ; 

But, tho' his name is in the East renown'd, 

The traces of my glory too are there 

For her to see. 

358 bacine's woeks. [act in. 


Ay, Forttme favours you. 


Ah ! How we mock ourselves with self-deception ! 


Why, what deception ? 


Could I ever please her ? 
Or Berenice cease to thwart my love ? 
Would she let fall a word to ease my pain ? 
Think you that she, in her unhappiness, 
Tho' all the world besides should slight her charms. 
Would thank me for my tears, or condescend 
So far as to accept the zealous service 
Which she should feel she owed to my affection ? 


And who can better solace her disgrace ? 

Her prospect now is changed from what it was : 

Titus forsakes her. 


Ah ! this turn of fortune 
WiU bring me nothing but an added torture. 
To learn how much she loves him from her tears ; 
I shall behold her grief, and pity her 
Myself. The fruit of all my love will be 
To see her weep, but not, aks, for me. 


Why thus continue to torment yourself? 
Was ever known a noble heart more feeble ? 
Open your eyes, and see how many reasons 
Must move fair Berenice to be yours. 
Now that no longer Titus courts her favour. 
She will perforce accept your hand, my master. 



And why perforce ? 


Give her some days to weep, — 
Let the first sobs of grief be unrestraiii'd ; 
Then all will work for you, vexation, vengeance. 
His absence and your presence, time itseK, 
Her single hand too weak to wield three sceptres, 
Yonr realms so ready to be join'd with hers. 
Interest, reason, friendship, all unites you. 


I breathe once more, you give me back my life. 
With joy I hail a presage so agreeable. 
Why tarry ? Let my mission be discharged. 
I'll see the Queen, and since the task is mine. 
Tell her that Titus has deserted her — 

But stay, what would I do ? Is it for me 
To take upon myself such cruel errand ? 
My heart revolts, whether from love or pity. 
Shall my dear Berenice hear from me 
She is forsaken ? Who would e'er have guess'd it, 
That such a word should strike upon her ear ? 


Her indignation will all fall on Titus ; 
And if you speak, 'twill be at her desire. 


No, let us not intrude upon her sorrow ; 

Let others come to tell of her misfortune. 

Do you not think it will be hard enough 

For her to hear how Titus spurns her from him, 

Without the further bitterness of learning 

His scornful treatment from a rival's lips ? 

Once more, let's fly ; nor by such evil tidings 

Incur the weight of her undying hatred. *V 3<? 

360 bacine's works. [act hi. 


Ah ! Here she comes. Now to your part, my lord 


Good Heav'ns ! 

Scene 3. 

Bbbenicb, Antiochtts, Absaces, Ph(enice. 

Why, how is this ? I thought you gone. 


I see that you are disappointed, Madam, 
And it was Csesar that you here expected. 
Him must you blame if, spite of my farewell, 
My presence still offends unwilling eyes. 
I should, perhaps, have been ere now at Ostia, 
Had not his orders kept me at his Court. 


Tour presence then he welcomes, mine he shuns. 


He has detain'd me but to speak of you. 


Of me. Prince ? 


Yes, of you. 


What could he say? 


A thousand others are more fit to tell you. 



What, Sir!— 


Suspend, dear Madam, your resentment. 
Another, far from seeking to be silent, 
Perhaps would triumph, and with ready boldness 
Might gladly yield to your impatient wish ; 
But I, whose heart shrinks ever, as you know. 
From wounding feelings dearer than mine own. 
Would rather risk displeasure than distress you. 
Dreading your sorrow even more than anger. 
Ere sunset you will justify my silence. 
Madam, farewelL 


What words are these ? Stay, Prince, 
I cannot hide my trouble from your eye. 
You see before you a distracted Queen ; 
Speak but two words, for I am sick at heart. 
You fear, say you, to trouble my repose ; 
This cruel reticence spares me no pain. 
It pierces deep, it stirs my wrath, my hatred. 
Sir, if you hold my peace of mind so precious. 
If ever I myself to you was dear. 
Lighten this darkness that you see overwhelms me. 
Tell me what Titus said. 


For Heav'n's sake. Madam — 


Do you so little fear to disobey me ? 


To tell the truth would be to make you hate me. 


Speak, I command you. 

362 bacikb's wobks. [a.ct hi. 


Gods ! What vehemence ! 
Once more, believe me, you will praise my silence. 


This moment, Prince, comply with what I ask, 
Or be assured that I shall always hate you. 


That sentence. Madam, shall release my tongue. 
Since you will have it so, I must content you. 
But do not be deceived : I have to tell 
Of troubles peradventure little dream'd of. 
I know your heart ; you must expect a blow 
To strike it where your feeling is most tender. 
Titus commands me — 




To let you know 
That you must part for ever from each other. 


Part ! He and I ? Titus from Berenice ? 


Yet at the same time I must do him justice ; 
All the repugnance that a generous heart 
Can feel when love is vanquish'd by despair, 
IVe seen in him. He worships while he weeps 
But he's convinced 'tis vain to love you longer. 
Eome holds the very name of Queen suspected ; 
Yes, you and he must part. You leave to-morrow. 


Part ! Oh, Phoenice ! 



You must sLow, dear Madam, 
The greatness of your soul. This sudden blow 
Is doubtless hard to bear, and well may stun you. 


Titus forsake me ! All his vows forgotten ! 
Titus, who swore to me — I'll not believe it ; 
Honour forbids him so to cast me off. 
It is a slander on his innocence, 
A trap to tear two loving hearts asunder. 
Too dear he holds me to desire my death. 
Come, I will see him, speak with him forthwith. 
Come, let us go. 


Is falsehood in my face? — 


Too much you wish it true. Sir, to persuade me. 
No, I believe you not. Be't as it may. 
Take heed you never see my face again. 

{to Phcenice.) 
Do not desert me in this dire distress. 
I struggle hard to keep myself deluded. 

Scene 4. 

Antiochus, Absacbs. 


Heard I aright ? or did my ears deceive me ? 
Me did she bid, me, ne'er to see her more ? 
ril take good care of that. Was I not leaving. 
Had Titus not detained me 'gainst my wiU ? 
Yes, I must go. Get ready, Arsaces. 
Her hatred, wherewithal she thinks to blast me. 
Strikes off my chains. Just now you saw a lover 
Departing, jealous with a wild despair; 

364 bacinb's works. [act hi. 

Now, with this warning ringing in mine ears, 
m go, methinks, in proud indifference. 


There is less need to leave her now than ever. 


Shall I then stay to see myself disdain'd, 

And bear the blame of Caesar's cruelty ? 

See myself punish'd because he offends ? 

With what injustice and unworthy scorn 

She tells me to my face that I'm dishonest ! 

For thanks she taxes me with perfidy, 

Saying that I'm a traitor, he is true ! 

And when forsooth ? Just at the bitter moment 

When I was setting forth my rival's tears ; 

When to console her I presented Titus i 

More tenderly attach'd than truth may warrant. 


Why vex yourself, my lord, with thoughts like these ? 
Give to this angry torrent time to flow ; 
A week, or at the most a month, will dry it. 
Only remain. 


No, Arsaces, I leave her. 
Her sorrow might excite my sympathy ; 
My peace, my honour urge me to be gone. 
Let us fly far enough from Berenice 
To hear her very name no longer mention'd. 
Still there is time, the day is not yet spent. 
I'U seek my palace, there to wait for you ; 
Haste, see how she supports this crushing blow. 
Until I know she lives, I cannot go. 



Scene 1. 


Phoenice comes not ! Tantalizing moments, 
How slow ye seem to mj impatient wishes ! 
Eestless I pace this floor, faint, sick at heart ; 
Strength fails me, yet it kills me to be qniet. 
Phoenice comes not ! Ah, how this delay 
Appals my heart with a too fatal presage ! 
Phoenice has no answer to bring back ; 
Titus, ungrateful Titus will not hear her ; 
He seeks in flight a refuge from my fury. 

Scene 2. 
Bebenice, Phcenicb. 


Well, dear Phoenice, have you seen the Emperor ? 
What says he ? Will he come ? 


Yes, I have seen him. 
And painted your distress in darkest tints ; 
Tears he would fain have check' d flow'd from his eyes. 


And comes he ? 


He will come ; doubt it not, Madam. 
But will you show yourself in this disorder ? 
Calm yourself, dearest lady, be composed. 
Let me replace the veil that from its place 

266 bacine's wobes. [act iv. 

Has slipt, and smootli this too disheyeU'd hair : 
No trace of weeping must your charms disfigure. 


Nay, let them be, Phoenice ; he shall see 

His handiwork. What boots this vain apparel ? 

If my true love, my tears and sighs, nor they 

Alone, but certain death whose near approach 

I feel, avail not to recall him to me, 

Will your superfluous cares be more successful, 

Aiding attractions that have ceased to move him ? 


Why will you load him with unjust reproaches? 
I hear a step, dear Madam ; it is Csesar's. 
This place is public, haste to your apartments. 
There you in private may converse together. 

Scene 3. 
TiTFs, Paulinus, Attendants. 


Do what you can to soothe the Queen, Paulinus ; 
Tell her I'm coming. 

I would be alone 
A moment. Let them leave me. 

PAULINUS (aside). 

How I fear 
This conflict ! May the gods protect his glory. 
And Eome*s ! Til see the Queen. 


Scene 4. 


What dost thou, Titus? 
How rash art thou, thus to seek Berenice ! 
Art thou prepared to take a last farewell ? 
And is thine heart steeFd to such cruelty ? 
For in the conflict that awaits thee now 
Firmness is not enough, thou must be ruthless. 
How shall I bear those eyes whose tender glance 
Knows but too well the way to reach my heart ? 
When I encounter that soul-piercing gaze 
Fix'd upon mine, can I resist her tears. 
Or bear in mind the stem behest of duty ? 
How shall I say : " See me no more for ever ? " 

I am about to stab a heart that loves me, 
Beloved by me. And why ? At whose command ? 
Mine own, for Eome has not declared her wishes. 
I hear no cries surging around this palace, 
Nor see the State hanging o'er ruin's brink. 
Needs it a sacrifice like this to save it ? 
Its voice is silent : I, my own tormentor, 
Eush to meet troubles I may keep at bay. 
Who knows but Rome, owning the Queen's rare virtues, 
Will count her one of her own citizens ? 
Eome by her choice may justify my own ; 
I will not court destruction, no, not I. 
Let Eome against her laws weigh in the balance 
Such love as hers, such tears, such constancy. 
And she will side with me — 

Open thine eyes ; 
What air is this that thou dost breathe ? Can love 
Or fear eradicate the hate of Kings 
That Eomans with their mothers' milk imbibe ? 
Their sentence against Kings condemns thy Queen. 
Hast thou not heard it from thine earliest years ? 
And even in the camp the voice of Fame 
Proclaim'd thy duty in thine ears once more. 

368 bagine's works. act iv. 

When Berenice hither folloVd thee, 
Eome did not fail to let thee know her judgment. 
How often must that judgment be repeated ? 
Coward, let love prevail, renounce the throne, 
Seek Earth's remotest bounds, and, there confined. 
Resign to worthier hands the reins of empire. 
Is this the end then of those glorious projects 
Which were t' enshrine my memory in all hearts ? 
Eight days have I been reigning, and till now 
Nought have I done for honour, all for love. 
What record can I give of time so precious ? 
Where are the boons I led men to expect ? 
The tears that I have dried ? The happy eyes 
Wherein I read the fruit of kindly service ? 
How have the burdens of the world been lightened ? 
What span of life to me has been allotted 
I know not ; and how much of these few days. 
So long expected, have I lost already ! 
Delay no longer : do what honour bids, 
And break the only tie— 

Scene 5. 
Berenice, Titus. 

BERENICE (coming from her apartment). 

Nay, let me go. 
Your counsel all is vain to keep me back ; 
And I must see him — 

Ah, my lord, you here ! 
Then it is true Titus abandons me ! 
And we must part ! 'Tis he will have it so! 


Spare, Madam, to overwhelm a hapless prince. 
We must not melt each other's hearts with woe. 
I am consumed with cruel griefs enough 
Without the added torture of those tears. 


Becall that noble spirit Tvhicli so oft 

Has made me recognize the voice of duty. 

Yet there is time. Eednce your love to silence ; 

And, with an eye clear'd from the mists of passion, 

Eegard that duty with unflinching courage. 

Strengthen this heart of mine against yourseK, 

Help me to nerve its weakness, if I can ; 

To keep back tears that will not cease to rise; 

Or, if we cannot stanch those tender springs. 

Let dignity at least support our woes. 

So that the whole world without blame may mark 

When weeps an Emperor and when weeps a Queen. 

For, after all, my ftincess, we must part. 


Ah, cruel Titus, you repent too late. 

What have you done ? You made me think you loved me, 

Accustom'd me to see you with delight. 

Till but for that I lived. You knew your laws 

When first you brought me to such fond confession, 

Why did you let my love grow to this height ? 

Why said you not : " Poor Princess, fix your heart 

Elsewhere, nor let deceitful hopes ensuare it ; 

Give it to one free to accept the gift ? " 

You took it gladly, will you now reject it 

With cruel scorn, when to your own it clings ? 

How oft did all the world conspire against us! 

Still there was time, you should have left me then. 

A thousand reasons might have soothed my woe; 

I might have blamed your father for my death, 

The senate, and the people, all the empire. 

The whole world, rather than a hand so dear. 

Their enmity, so long declared against me, 

Had long prepared me to expect misfortune. 

I did not look. Sir, for this cruel blow 

To fall when hope seem'd crown'd with happiness, 

Now, when your love can do whatever it wishes. 

When Eome is silent, and your father dead, 

When all the world bends humbly at your knees, ^H ^ 

When there is nothing left to fear but you. 

I. B B 

370 eacinb's wobks. [act iv. 


Yes, it is I who wreak my own destruction ! 

Till now I lived the victim of delusion. 

My heart refused to look into the future, 

To think that we might one day have to part. 

To eager wishes nothing seems too hard, 

And blinded hope grasps the impossible. 

Haply I thought to die before your eyes. 

And so forestall more cruel separation. 

All opposition made my flame bum brighter ; 

Rome and the empire spoke, but glory's voice 

Not yet had to my heart appealed in tones 

Like those with which it strikes an Emperor's ears. 

I know what torments wait on this resolve, 

I feel my heart ready to take its flight, 

I cannot any longer live without you. 

Come life or death, my duty is to reign. 


Be cruel, then, and reign, a slave to glory ! 

I'm ready to submit. Yes, I expected. 

For trusting you, to hear those lips, that swore 

A thousand vows of everlasting love. 

Confess before mine eyes that they were faithless, 

And banish me for ever from your presence. 

I wi^'d to hear that sentence from yourself ; 

But I will hear no more. Farewell for ever — 

For ever ! Ah, my lord, think how those words. 

Those cruel words, dismay a heart that loves ! 

A year, a month will be to us an age 

Of suflTring, when the wide sea rolls between us. 

And each fresh sun that dawns shall sink in darkness 

Without presenting to the eyes of Titus 

His Berenice, he unseen by her 

The livelong day. But how am I deceived ! 

No sorrow feels he at the thought of absence. 

He will not count the days when I am gone. 

So long to me, they'll seem too short for him ! 



They'll not be many I shall have to count : 
I hope ere long the tidings of my death 
Will bring assurance that I loved you truly. 
Then you will own that Titus could not live — 


Ah, my dear lord, why part if that be so ? 
I speak not now to you of happy marriage. 
Has Eome condemned me never more to see you ? 
Why grudge to me the selfsame air you breathe ? 


I can't resist you, Madam. Stay, I yield ; 
But not without a sense of mine own weakness ; 
Ceaseless must be the conflict and the fears. 
Ceaseless the watch to keep my steps from you, 
Whose charms will ever like a magnet draw me. 
Ay, at this very instant, love distracts me 
From memory of all things but itself. 


Well, well, my lord, what ill can come of it ? 
Where see you any sign of Rome's displeasure? 


Who knows how they will look on this offence ? 
If they complain, if cries succeed to murmurs. 
Must I shed bloo4 to justify my choice ? 
If they in silence let me break their laws. 
To what do you expose me ? I must purchase 
Their patience at the price of base compliance 
With whatsoever else they dare to ask me ; 
Too weak t' enforce the laws I cannot keep. 


You count as nothing Berenice's tears ! 

372 baciwb's wobks. [act iv. 

I count them nothing ! Heavens ! What injustice ! 


Why then, for unjust laws that you can change, 
O'erwhehn yourself in ceaseless miseries ? 
Have you no rights, my lord, as well as Eome ? 
Why should you hold her interests more sacred 
Than ours ? Come, tell me. 


How you rend my heart ! 


You are the Emperor, and yet you weep ? 


Yes, Madam, it is true, with sighs and tears 
I am unnerved. But when the throne I mounted 
Eome made me swear to vindicate her laws, 
And I must keep them. More than once already 
Her rulers have been call'd on to display 
Their constancy in trial. From her birth 
Those whom she honour'd readily obeyed her : 
See Regulus who, faithful unto death, 
Eetum*d to Carthage to be slain with tortures, 
Torquatus dooming his victorious offspring, 
Brutus with tearless eyes seeing his sons 
Slain by his orders 'neath the lictor's axe. 
Hard lot was theirs ! But patriotic duty 
Has ever won the victory with Eomans. 
I know in leaving you unhappy Titus 
Attempts what throws their virtues in the shade, 
A sacrifice surpassing any other's : 
But think you, after all, I am unworthy 
To leave posterity a high example 
Which those who follow will be task'd to equal? 

80ENK 6.] BEBENICE* 373 


No ! To your cruel heart I deem it easy ; 

Worthy are you to rob me of my life. 

The veil is torn aside, I read your heart. 

I will not ask you more to let me stay, — 

Me, who had willingly endured the shame 

Of ridicule and scorn from those who hate me. 

I wish'd to drive you to this harsh refusal. 

'Tis done, and soon you'll have no more to fear me. 

Think not that I shall vent my wrongs in fury. 
Or call on Heav'n to punish perjury : 

No, if a wretch's tears still move the gods, 

I pray them to forget the pangs I suffer. 

If, ere I die, victim of your injustice, 

I cherish any wish to leave behind me 

Avengers of poor Berenice's death, 

I need but seek them in your cruel heart ; 

Eemorse will dwell there, aU my love recalling. 

Paint my past kindness, and my present anguish. 

Show you my blood staining your royal palace. 

And haunt you with abiding memories : 

I have made every effort to dissuade you, 

'Tis vain : to your own heart I trust for vengeance. 


Scene 6. 
TiTTJS, Patjlinits. 


What seem'd her purpose when she left you ? 
Is she disposed, my lord, to go away ? 


I am imdone, Paulinus ! She is bent 

On self-destruction. How should I survive it ? 

Haste, let us follow her ! 

374 bacine's wobes. [a.ct iv. 


Did you not order, 
Just now, that all her movements should be watcli'd ? 
Her women are not backward in their duty, 
And they will turn her from these gloomy thoughts. 
Fear nothing. This is her last throw, my lord ; 
With perseverance victory is yours. 
I know you could not hear her without pity, 
I was myself affected at the sight. 
But take a wider and more distant view. 
Think how a moment's pain will lead to glory. 
With what applause the universe will ring, 
Rank'd in the future — 


No, I am a monster. 
I hate myself. Nero, by all detested. 
Ne'er reach'd a depth of cruelty like this. 
I will not let poor Berenice die. 
Come, let us go, and Borne say what ehe wilL 


My lord! 


I know not what I say, Paulinua ; 
Excess of sorrow overpoVrs my senses. 


Soil not the current of your pure renown : 

The news, akeady spread, of your farewell 

Makes Eome exchange her sighs for shouts of triumph ; 

In all her temples fumes of incense rise 

For you, your virtues to the skies are lauded. 

And everywhere your statues crown'd with bays. 


Ah, Eome ! Ah, Berenice ! Woe is me, 
That I should be ian Emperor, and a lover ! 


Scene 7. 
Titos, Antiochus, Patjlintjs, Aesaces. 


What have you done, my lord ? The lovely Queen 

Lies in Phoenice's arms, death hovering o*er her : 

Deaf to our tears, to counsel, and to reason, 

She cries aloud for daggers or for poison. 

You, you alone can tear that longing from her — 

For when they breathe your name her life comes back ; 

Her eyes are ever tum'd to your apartments. 

As tho' they look'd to see you every moment. 

The sight is more than I can bear, it kills me. 

Q-o, show yourself to her. Why tarry longer ? 

Save to the world such virtue and such beauty, 

Or waive all title to humanity. 

Speak but one word. 


Alas ! What can I say ? 
I scarcely know if Tm alive or dead. 

Scene 8. 
TiTirs, Antiochtts, Pattlintts, Aesaces, Etjtilus. 


My lord, the senate, consuls, all the tribunes 
Seek audience oi you in the name of Eome : 
With them a multitude, full of impatience, 
Throng your apartments, and await your presence. 


Great gods, ye thus would reassure my heart. 
Distracted as ye see till like to break ! 

376 bacine's wobks. [act v. 


Gome, Sire, and let us pass to the next chamber. 
There see the senate. 


Haste, Sir, to the Queen ! 


Nay, treat them not with such indignity, 
Nor trample on the majesty of £ome. 
Whose envoys — 


'Tis enough. Yes, I will see them. 

(to AjfTIOCHUS.) 

Prince, 'tis a duty that I cannot shun. 
Go to the Queen. I hope, on my return, 
She will no longer need to doubt my love. 


Scene 1. 


Where shall I find this Prince of peerless faith ? 
May Heav'n conduct my steps, and aid my zeal : 
Grant me this moment to announce to him 
A happiness which he has ceased to hope for ! 

Scene 2. 
Antiochtjs, Absaces. 


Ah ! What good fortune sends you hither. Sire ? 



If my return can bring you any joy, 
It is to my despair your thanks are due. 


My lord, the Queen goes hence. 


She goes ! 


Her orders have been giv'n. She is offended 
That Titus leaves her to her tears so long. 
Her passion has cool'd down to proud displeasure ; 
Borne and the Emp'ror she alike renounces, 
And wishes to be gone ere Eome can learn 
Her trouble, and rejoice to see her flight. 
She writes to Caesar. 


Heavens ! Who'd have thought itP 
And Titus? 


Has not met her eyes again. 
The multitude in transport press around him, 
Shouting his praises and the names of honour 
The senate have conferred, and these loud plaudits. 
These titles, and these tokens of respect 
To Titus seem so many binding pledges. 
Links in a chain to fix his wavering will. 
Despite his sighs and Berenice's tears. 
I think he will not see her more. All's over. 


I feel fresh hope ; I own it, Arsaces. 

But cruel Fate has ofttimes play'd me false, 

And mock'd me with such bitter disappointments. 


That 'tis with fear and trembling that I hear you : 
Evil forebodings mingle with my joy, 
And make me dread the turn of Fortune's wheel. 
But who is this ? Titus is coming hither ! 
With what intent? 

Scene 3. 
TiTirs, Antiochus, Absaces. 

TiTTJS (to his Attendants). 

Stay, let none follow me. 

{to Antiochus.) 
I come at last. Prince, to redeem my promise. 
The Queen's distress engrosses all my thoughts. 
Her tears and yours have pierced me to the heart ; 
I come to calm sorrows than mine less cruel. 
Come, Prince ; I would that you yourself should see 
For the last time if I love Berenice. 

Scene 4. 
Antiochtjs, Absages. 


Thus ends the hope, then, that you ( anae to offer ! 

You see the triumph that awaited me ! 

Justly incensed was Berenice leaving, 

For Titus had refused to see her more ! 

Great gods ! What have I done, that thus misfortune 

Is destined to pursue me all my life ? 

My days are pass'd in constant quick transition 

From fear to hope, from hope to wild despair, 

Yet still I breathe ! Berenice ! Titus ! 

Ah, cruel gods ! ye shall no longer mock me. 


Scene 5. 
TiTTJS, Berenice, Phcenice. 


Nay, m hear nothing. I am quite resolved : 
I mean to go. Why show yourself before me r 
Why come you to embitter hopeless sorrow ? 
Are you not yet content ? No more FU see you. 


Pray hear me. 


No, the time is past. 


Dear Madam, 
One word. 


Not one. 


Into what grief she casts me ! 
Whence comes, my Princess^ this so sudden change ? 


You said you wish'd me to depart to-morrow ; 
I am determined to depart this moment : 
The die is cast ; I go. 




Why, forsooth? 
To hear myself insulted everywhere, 
My trouble made the theme of every tongue ? , ^ 

Can you not hear their cries of cruel joy, ^S^ 

880 eacinb's wobes. [act t. 

While I am drown'd in tears of lonely sorrow ? 
What have I done to make myself so hated? 
No crime I know save loving you too much. 


Why heed the malice of a senseless mob ? 


Nought see I here but sights that wound mine eyes. 
This chamber furnish'd by your thoughtful care. 
These walls so long the witness of my love. 
All seem'd to pledge that yours would last for ever ; 
These garlands, where our names close link'd together 
Meet my sad gaze whene*er I look around, 
Are more than I can bear, smiling impostors ! 
Phoenice, let us go. 

Heav'ns ! How unjust ! 


Betum, return to that august assembly 
Which welcomes with applause your cruelty. 
Say, did their praises gratify your ear? 
Was your fierce thirst for glory fully slaked ? 
Confess that you have promised to forget me. 
But that would not suffice to seal repentance : 
Have you not sworn an everlasting hatred? 


Nay, I have promised nothing. Hatred, say you ? 
How can I e'er forget my Berenice ? 
Gods ! What a bitter moment thus to feel 
Crush'd 'neath the weight of her unjust suspicion ! 
Ah, you should know me better. Count the hours. 
The days I spent, these five years past, in telling 
My heart's desires with passion that outran 
Your own, and fervent sighs when words were dumb. 


This day surpasses all. Ne'er, I protest. 
Were you beloved with so much tenderness, 
Ay, and for ever — 


You maintain you love me ; 
Yet I'm departing, and by your command ! 
Find you such charms, my lord, in my despair ? 
Fear you that these mine eyes shed tears too few ? 
What boots it that your heart returns so late ? 
For pity's sake at least show me less love, 
Eecall not an idea too fondly cherish'd ; 
Let me go hence, persuaded that, already 
Banish'd in secret from your soul, I leave 
A wretch who loses me without regret. 
(TiTTJs reads a letter,) 
The letter you have seized I had just written. 
There you may read all that of you I ask. 
And of your love : read it, and let me go. 


Nay, that you never shall with my consent. 
What ! this departure then was but a scheme 
Veiling more cruel purpose ! You would die ! 
So should there but remain sad memories 
Of all I love. 

Q-o, call Antiochus. 

(Berenice sinks upon a seat.) 

Scene 6. 
TiTTJS, Berenice. 


Madam, a true confession I must make. 

Whilst my mind brooded on that dreaded moment 

When, in obedience to stem laws of duty. 

382 eacinb's wosks. [act 

I should be forced to see your face no loDger ; 

When I foresaw that sad farewell approaching. 

Contending fears in me, from you rebuke 

Of tearful eyes, I arm'd my soul to sujffer 

All that affliction most intense could bring me : 

But I must own that e'en my worst forebodings 

Fell short, far short of the reality ; 

I thought my courage was less prone to yield, 

And feel with shame how feeble was its strength. 

Before mine eyes I saw all Rome assembled ; 

The senate spoke, but my distracted soul 

Heard without comprehending, and in silence, 

As cold as ice, I met their warmest greetings. 

Eome knows not yet what destiny awaits you ; 

I scarcely know myself if at this moment 

I am an Emperor, or e*en a Eoman. 

Uncertain of my purpose, I am come, 

Drawn hither by my love, where, peradventure, 

Self-consciousness may to my soul return. 

What have I found ? Death pictured in your eyes. 

In search of death I see you mean to leave me. 

At this sad prospect I'm o'erwhelm'd with anguish. 

The devastating flood has reach'd its height. 

The worst that man can feel 'tis mine to sufEer. 

Nay, not the worst ; I see a way of rescue. 

Yet hope not for a refuge from these terrors 

In happy wedlock that may dry these tears : 

Tho' sore the straits to which I am reduced. 

Glory asserts inexorable claims, 

And evermore reminds me that our marriage 

Is incompatible with sovereignty, 

That, after all the fame I sought and won, 

'Tis less than ever meet that I should wed you, 

That I, dear Madam, should declare me ready 

For you the throne of empire to resign, 

To follow you and, going, hug my chains, 

To breathe forth amorous sighs in realms remote. 

You would yourself blush at such feeble conduct. 

And see wifti shame an Emperor so unworthy 

As humbly to attach himself to you. 

Forfeit his crown, and make himself a mark 

8CBNE 7.] BBBENICB. 883 

For all men's scorn. To 'scape my present torments 

There is, you know it well, a nobler way ; 

Many a hero, many a son of Borne 

Has shown me. Madam, how to tread that path ; 

When constant woes have wearied out their patience, 

Fate's ceaseless persecution has to them 

Seem'd like a secret order from on high 

No longer to resist. K still your tears 

Eieproach me when I look on Berenice, 

If I behold you still resolved to die, 

If I must ever tremble for your life», 

Unless your solemn oath this fear removes. 

You will have other tears to shed ere long. 

My present strait prompts me to^desperate deeds. 

Nor can I answer for it that my hand 

May not with blood seal our last sad farewell. 




What is there that I dare not do ! 
See how my fate rests wholly in your hands ; 
Ponder it well, and if I still am dear — 

Scene 7, 
Titus, Beeenice, Antiochfs. 


You're welcome, Prince, I sent to bid you come. 
Be witness of the weakness of my heart ; 
Judge whether with too little tenderness 
It loves. 


I doubt it not ; I know you both ; 
Know in your turn what misery is mine. 
You, Sire, have honour'd me with your regard, 

384 BACIKE*8 WOBKS. [aCT V. 

And I can here assure you without falsehood, 

I have competed with your dearest friends. 

And shed my blood, to hold the foremost place. 

The Queen and you, my lord, hare both confided 

Your mutual lore to me, against my will : 

She hears me and can say if I speak truth, 

She ever saw me eager in your praises, 

Well I responded to your confidence. 

Tou owe me thanks, ay, more than you suppose. 

For little you imagine at this moment 

That such a faithful friend was yet your rival. 


My rival ! 


Listen to my explanation. 
This heart has ever worshipped Berenice ; 
A hundred times I struggled to forget her. 
In vain, but not in vain to make my love 
Seem dead. When I was flatter'd with the signs 
Of change in you, new hopes within me rose. 
But Berenice's tears those hopes have quench'd : 
With weeping eyes she begg'd that she might see you» 
And, as you know, I summoned you myself. 
You have retum'd to her beloved and loving. 
The breach between you heal'd, I cannot doubt it. 
In final consultation with my heart, 
I have resolved to test its utmost courage. 
And Eeason has resumed her sovereign sway. 
I never loved her more than at this moment, 
But one strong effort m&j effect my freedom ; 
To death I fly for succour, which alone 
Can burst my bonds. This is what I desired 
To tell you. I recaJl'd him to you. Madam, 
Nor do I now repent what I have done. 
May Heav'n pour forth its blessings in rich store 
On all your future years, link'd each to other 
By happiness ! Or, if its wrath still threatens 
A life so precious, I implore the gods 


To turn it all on this devoted head. 
And consummate my sacrifioe for you. 

BEBENICE (rising). 

Cease, Princes, cease. This generosity 

Is m ore than I can bear and drives me mad ! 

Where'er I look, whether on you or him, 

I meet the very image of despair, 

Eyes full of tears, and lips that utter nought 

But words of horror and impending bloodshed. 

(to Titus.) 
My lord, you know my heart, and I am bold 
To say I never sigh'd to be an Empress. 
I^ome's grandeur and the purple of her Csesars 
Could not attract the gaze of Berenice. 
My love was all for you, your love alone 
My heart's desire ; and, when I thought to-day 
That I had lost it, 'twas with wild alarm. 
I know my error now, you never ceased 
To love me. I have seen your deep emotion. 
Your heart is troubled more than I deserve. 
Let not your love eclipse " the World's Delight," 

Nor rob her of yourself just at the time 

When the first taste of your transcendent virtues 

Allures her hopes. For five years I have wish'd 

To prove to you how faithful is my love ; 

Now must a crowning effort seal devotion. 

Your will shall be obey'd and I will live. 

Eeign, noble Csesar ! Berenice bids 

Adieu to you for ever. 

(to Antiochus.) 

Prince, this parting 

May well convince you that no other passion 

(Tho' far I go from Eome) can e'er supplant 

My love for Titus. Do as we have done. 

In generous self -conquest vie with us 

Who tear asunder our united hearts. 

Live, and, if sigh you must, let it be far 

From Berenice. Pare you well. 

We three 

I. CO 

386 sacike's wobks. [▲ct ▼. 

Shall offer to the world the saddest instance 
In History's page of fond affections blighted. 
My bark is ready. Do not follow me. 

(to Titus.) 
For the last time, ferewell, my lord. 



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( 27 ) 



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